One of the first English classes I took in college specified a "Complete Works of Shakespeare" compendium on the list of required textbooks. Being a complete sucker, and a rule abiding one at that, I bought the damned thing. Between the shocking cost of the thing, and its weight, you would have thought it had been made of gold.
It turns out that the professor assigned it for two reasons:
1. He was under the impression that someone else bought your textbooks. Therefore, by assigning something cool, he was basically giving you a present on someone else's dime.