You realize the time has or will come for you to purchase college textbooks. What do you do?
A.) Purchase your textbooks from the university bookstore?
B.) Buy your books directly from the textbook manufacturer?
Do neither! Because you know that both options will cost you lots of money. Instead, use the best kept secrets in the business to save some serious textbook money.
Sure, some people pay hundreds of dollars every semester to purchase college textbooks. But the average cost of college textbooks has become way too high for most students to bear. Alas, there is a way to crack the money saving code.
Read further about the six best college textbook money saving tips everyone should know about. (And how you can do it too!)
1. Rent Your Textbooks
Students who purchase textbooks can spend anywhere between $1,230 to $1,390 on textbooks and course materials every single year. Renting textbooks can save you up to 90% of those costs.
Many professors assign the same textbooks year after year. The problem is these textbooks are usually only needed for one semester. What happens to all these no longer needed, used textbooks?
They transform into rentable halfprice text books!
When you rent your textbooks it involves four main steps:
- Search for the textbook using the ISBN number
- Rent the textbook from the provider
- Receive the book
- Send the book back to the provider
Most used bookstores offer renting options but you can often find better savings online. Take time to look around to find the best bargain for your buck.
Most services offer free shipping to and from your location to further knock down the average cost of textbooks. If they don’t, you may have to meet a minimum textbook order charge or have a redeemable code.
Be sure to take good care of the textbook to avoid damage charges. Always read the terms and conditions of the rental provider and get it back to the source on time to dodge additional charges.
2. Avoid The Bookstore
In the last ten years, people have spent 88% more on college textbooks. A lot of that money is racked up from spending money at the university bookstore. Shopping here may be convenient but it is often the most expensive.
Sometimes you have no choice but to shop at the university bookstore for supplies like:
- Specialized materials
- Custom-printed packets from professors
- Class companion books
But if possible, look elsewhere to save the most money!
3. Wait To Buy
One of the most challenging questions is when to buy college textbooks. Many people want to get ahead of the game and get their textbooks early, but you should wait to buy them.
First and foremost always read the syllabus. Even if the university says you need certain textbooks, it’s possible your professor has opted out and decided not to use it for your class. Often times the professor will have textbooks in two categories on the syllabus:
Sometimes it may appear like you need two to three textbooks for one class but in reality only one is required and the others are supplementary readings.
Don’t forget to talk to your professor. Many of them are also frustrated with the high prices of textbooks and want to make the class as cost effective as possible for students.
To save the most money remember to do these three things before buying books:
- Read the syllabus
- Wait until the first day of class
- Talk to your professor
4. Look At Older Editions
While talking to your professor, ask if you can use an older edition of the textbook. In most cases, previous versions of the textbook are very similar to the current edition.
Many professors will even allow you to get one or two editions prior to the current version as long as it still follows along with the class.
The downside to this option is sometimes the pages are off from the current edition. If the professor assigns a reading from the current edition, the pages might look different in your older edition. The same material is usually there, just in a different order.
5. Check Out eBooks
Sometimes it is inevitable and you have to purchase the most recent version of the textbook. Hardback books cost the most money followed closely by paperback books. The media many people forget about are eBooks.
Buying the electronic version of the textbook saves money because the manufacturer doesn’t have to pay for physical production materials.
In addition to the money-saving benefits, one of the best parts about eBooks is often times you can search for specific terms and topics without having to flip through a physical book.
Sometimes it can be strange to follow along on a screen so be sure that electric versions are a good fit for you. Always ask your professor to ensure it is an option that works for their class.
6. Check Out The Library
If you can find your textbook at the library, it’s free! Looking at the library for textbooks can be a great option for some courses like:
Often times the library only has a few copies of certain texts so be sure to look into this option early on for the best chance to check out the book. Don’t forget to look at both university and community libraries!
Sometimes the library will require you stay in the building with the textbook or it cannot be renewed multiple times. Talk to library staff members with specific questions.
other valuable tips:
Saving Textbook Money
College is already filled with so many unavoidable costs, don’t let textbooks be one of them! Don’t forget to check out personal finance textbooks for killer additional saving textbook money tips.
College is a time to learn and enjoy. Don’t let unnecessary textbook costs stop you from that. The best textbooks are ones that don’t break your bank.
You’ve got this!
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Image Credit: textbook money by Pixabay
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