That time of year has come; it is a new semester. School
tuition continues to rise and many students are faced with barely being able to
afford school, let alone be able to afford the textbooks required by the
courses being taken. Textbook costs have grown to outrageous prices in recent
years, with some books costing over $200 for just one course. Not to mention
the notorious version changes that seem to happen immediately after a new
version is released. It is near impossible to use the same version of a textbook
from one semester to another.
This guide will help students use resources to locate textbooks for cheaper. It is possible to save tons of money just by simply staying away from your school's bookstore.
Things You Will NeedTime, Effort, Energy.
Determine Which Textbooks Are Needed
Some schools allow students to determine which textbooks will be required for the course when they register for the class. If this is an option at your school, I highly recommend jotting down these textbooks and searching for cheaper versions of them prior to the semester starting.
If your school does not have this option, contact your teachers and ask them if they will be using the same required textbooks for next semester. Talk to someone currently in the course and ask what textbooks are required. Browse the bookstore for the classes you're thinking of taking and look at what textbooks are on the shelves that may be required.
The earlier you start determining what books you might need, the more you will be able to save money.
Exhaust All Free Rental Resources
Does your school or local library have the book required for the course? If so, check the book out for the semester, but don't forget to renew when required otherwise you could end up with a hefty fine.
Ask your professor if he/she plans on putting the textbooks in the school library on reserve. For some of the more expensive textbooks, sometimes professors will put the book in the school library reserve so students have the option of using the textbook there. In the book reserve, you can only check items out for a couple hours at a time, and you are not allowed to leave the library with them. However, this could be a great option for studying and saving money on a book.
Purchase Textbooks at the End of the Semester
Once the semester is over, many students are clamoring to get rid of their books and hoping to make a small portion of the initial cost back. Check out online marketplaces like Craigslist, Half.com, Amazon, etc. for textbooks for sale. This is the reason why it is important to try and get your course textbook list early, so you can make quick and cheap purchases from people who are trying to unload their books.
Check with fellow students, do they have textbooks for courses that you will need? Will they be willing to sell them to you?
Use Online Textbook Rental Websites
There are many websites out there that allow for a semester textbook rental. Some of these websites charge less than 60% of what the textbook would be if you were to purchase it new. This can be a huge savings for some students whose books are astronomically high. Once the semester is over, most of these websites provide you with a postage-paid envelope to return the book. No worrying about selling it back at the end of the semester, or not being able to sell it back due to a new version being released. These websites are also beneficial because you don't have to worry about storing those large, heavy books at home if you're unable to sell them back.
Talk To Your Professor
In some instances, professors are more than willing to allow you to use an older version of a textbook. I have had professors tell me that minor changes were made and so I could use an older version just fine. Your professors are there to help, so don't be afraid to talk to them. The majority of them understands the high cost of education and wants you to succeed no matter what.
If you are allowed to use an older version of a textbook, this could be great news! They are generally extremely cheap online due to them no longer being in use.
Hopefully these options will help in your efforts of locating the ever-elusive low cost textbook. Explore these options before going and purchasing new books at your university bookstore. That should be your very last resort. Best of luck!