The never ending text book crisis in universities everywhere, is a battle that students have been fighting for years. With a little creativity, forethought, research and diligence a student can manipulate his /her circumstances to save a little money and still perform well in class.
It is no secret that there is a lot of money to be made by printing and reprinting different versions of books with basically the same information inside of them. This information may be rearranged and may appear with different pictures, but the same information nonetheless. Textbook companies always have and always will take advantage of students by constantly publishing new versions of the same book. Think about it. How can the information in math, or history really be updated? Realizing this, is the your first step to saving money. Using older books published by the same company can help to save you money, especially if you had a friend, or sibling that already has the book and will loan it to you.
If accepting hand me down books is not an option the easiest way to save the most money is to simply not purchase any books at all. Occasionally, your professors will admit during the first day in class that they do not plan on using the book at all. If your prof. does not address the text book stick around after class and ask him if it is absolutely necessary to have a book. You would be surprised how many professors do not use a text, or at least cover the information well enough in class that owning a text book is not necessary assuming you are able to take good notes. I have received A’s in classes in which I never bought one book; trust me if I can do it there are others that can save money as well.
The second option is a little risky, but it is the cheapest alternative aside from not buying a book at all. Find a buddy in your class, or even better, a buddy taking the same class at a different time and split the book. This is beneficial in several ways. Firstly, you are only paying for half of the book, hopefully you can find a used version to save you even more money. Secondly, you already have a built in study partner for tests. When test time rolls around you both will need to share the book, hence creating a situation will you can help each other pass. However, I’ve learned from experience to pick your book sharing partners carefully. My book buddy accidentally spilled beer all over chapter 8. When I griped at him he informed me that Chapter 8-16 was “his” half of the book so he could do whatever he wanted with it. …Jerk.
If you feel you must have your own book, I suggest planning in advance and search the Internet for used books. Half.com has always provided me with cheap, pre-highlighted texts in a timely manner. There are several sites that offer you this sevice, however selling these already used books back can sometimes be problematic. Nonetheless, this is a viable option that offers you yet another method of biting the bullet and paying the ridiculous full price for a book. I think a lot of schools even have Classified ads in the school paper or even the school website where students buy and sell each others books. Yet another way of sticking to those book companies.
You do not have to stick with only one of these methods to obtain all of your books. Any combination of these methods will help you save a little money so that you can spend it on, well whatever it is you college kids are spending money on these days. I probably don’t want to know, but it must be better than forking it over to the heartless, money grubbing, publishing companies!