Your first mistake is shopping at Fry's at all. Living in Silly Valley, I'm sure you've already been regaled with epic tales of Fry's committment to customer service, from the bait-and-switch ads to the search at the door on the way out. Fry's only real feature is that they have everything. You can buy a refrigerator, a video card, and a DVD all in one place. The down side is that you can get any of these things cheaper someplace else and not have to deal with Fry's employees. Rule of thumb: 10% of Fry's merchandise is broken.
If you need hardware, try Surplus Computer in San Jose or Action Computer in Sunnyvale or Palo Alto. Both places carry the same selection of cables and cases as Fry's for about half the price, and the staff actually know what they're doing.
For books, try Book Buyers on Castro Street in Mountain View. Way in the back they have a nice selection of used Computer Books. I've found copies of the Camel Book for as low as $15. In bygone days I would have directed you to Computer Literacy, but post-bubble, CL is no more.
"What do I want? I'm an American. I want more."
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