When attending college, some students can feel completely overwhelmed at the costs that come with it. Not only do you have to sacrifice a great deal of time and effort, you have to pay to do so! Everything for college in incredibly costly – if you allow it to be. Students face fees in every arena that they participate in during college. You must buy specific calculators, certain computer programs, pens, pencils, paper, ink, staples, folders, notebooks, and folders all just as basic instruments for school. These things can be cheap or expensive depending on where you buy them and which ones that you choose. Textbook prices, however are shocking. If you purchase your textbook at or through the school bookstore, you will walk away with a very light wallet, and a feeling of stress because you spent so much on the books, that you know to make it balance out, you must do very well in the class. There are ways, and places, however that you can escape these prices that feel like robbery. Here are a few suggestions;
When you sign up for a class, you usually get the course number and can go to the bookstore in person, or online and purchase the books. You may even have them mailed to you if you wish. You have two options when buying from the bookstore: new books (equals double the price of anything else), and used textbooks (which will be just a smidge cheaper). If you don’t mind used books (most students don’t), feel free to purchase them. If you still think that the price is still pretty high, write down (or scan with your smart-phone) the ISBN, and you may compare prices online.
Know where to buy
Textbook prices are ridiculous, and there are hundreds of places to buy the exact book that you need online. The very best example is Amazon.com. Here, you will be able to find the cheapest book on their entire site, and compare prices to your school. This site allows other students to sell the same book that they have already used at a cheaper price. The sellers will rate the condition of the book. Textbooks.com allows you to do virtually the same. It will list the prices of all of the copies that they have available, used, new, and they allow you to even rent the book for your semester (which is a very good price, but you do have to send the book back before it’s dues date, which may not be optimal unless you know that you may follow through). The best site, however, is cheaptextbooks.com, because it lists all books that are available from each site (they compare sites for you, so you don’t have to look for yourself, which is great if you want to save time). They compare new and used books, as well as rentals for 125 days, 85 days and 55 days. If going the rental route, you might want to read the fine print to ensure that you are following the rules of the agreement so that you won’t get fined.
Trade with friends
If you have a friend (or a sibling) who has used the book you need prior to your own class, you might get it for free. If the book is too cheap to sell (it will only gain a few dollars and is not worth the time and effort), then the person that has it, may just give it to you. If they aren’t willing to give it to you, strike a deal and offer to purchase it at a price that is fair to both of you. Chances are you can get it for a very decent price, because your friend will want to unload it, and you will be making it easy for them to do so. After you have used it, of course, you too can sell it back to another student, the school, or one one of the above mentioned websites.
Borrow it from the library
In most cases, the school does keep multiple copies of the book in their library. The college library does contain anything that any student basically needs to attend classes. If you are planning to borrow, you will have to get the book early (before other students), and know when you are expected to check it out again (you may be able to do this online, as well), or if you are even allowed to do this (some libraries insist on keeping the copies in their possession, with you simply using it on campus). If your library does have it, and doesn’t lend it out, you can go to the library several times per week to use the textbook if you wish to spend that much time on it, or think you may be able to take enough notes, or read exactly what you are supposed to read for the class.
Share a book
If you do have a friend (again, or a sibling), that is taking the class too, you can both share the book. Work out a schedule or map out study sessions in a way that enables both of you to use the book at the same time. This, of course might be difficult, but if you really cannot afford the textbook, this may be a great way to not buy a copy. A fellow classmate may take a different class, or a class that lasts only half of a semester, which will allow you to use the textbook when they are not using it. This isn’t the best way to save on textbooks, but it is an option.
Keep in mind that the school will not always buy a book back from a student. Sometimes, there will be a box where you can discard the book if it isn’t bought back by the school, and some students will use it. If you keep a careful eye on the book buy-back dates, and you notice this discard box, try searching it for the textbook (or any other book that might interest you) that you need. You would be surprised at how many students do not want to take the time to sell a book if the school does not buy it back. If you do have textbook lying around, you may be able to sell them on one of the websites, or even trade them in for different books, or for credit to use on that website, or even trade them in for money. There is no reason that you should spend too much money on a book when you are short of money and time, or you do not think you have the resources. You will be able to study and use a book for a fraction of the original cost.