As a current student, I know personally how the price of books can add anxiety to an already tight budget. I will resist the urge to go of on a tirade about how riduculous the price of textbooks is and simply give the tips that have worked for me while purchasing textbooks.
Technology is a beautiful thing! The internet has not only given us millions of pages of useful and useless information, but it has also opened the door to discount books. There are several websites dedicated to selling new and used textbooks at a discount price. Simply type in “used textbooks” into any search engine and you are bound to find what you’re looking for. I have only used on site for my books and that was AMAZON.COM. For the most part, I have been completely satisfied with my purchases and have saved up to 50% of what it would have cost had I gone to the college bookstore.
There are some things you need to know if you intend to buy your books online. First, be sure you know EXACTLY what book you will need. Many college websites will have a link to their bookstore that will list what books are needed for what class. Yet, some (such as my college) don’t always list the edition. For this reason, I go to the bookstore and get all the information right off the bookshelf. This also gives you the opportunity to see what the new and used prices are at the bookstore. The second important thing to consider is shipping time. Getting your textbooks online is certainly not for the procrastinator. It may take up to two weeks for your books to arrive, unless you pay for expedited shipping. I am always looking for the least expensive route, so I try to order early. The last thing, be aware that your books may not be in perfect condition. This, of course, is the risk of buying anything online. Most books will still be usable, but may have a distracting amount of highlighting throughout the text.
As long as you know what you’re buying and allow the time for it to arrive, you can save quite a bit of money by buying online. Even using expedited shipping, you can usually save at least 25% by purchasing used books online.