The answer isn’t to simply not buy them, as many of my witty friends have pointed out. I look at my textbooks and I think, “Damn. There’s my entire GPA”. I don’t need to explain the value of having textbooks, but I will agree wholeheartedly that they cost too much money. So after my freshman mistake of actually buying them all new, here’s to all the money that I won’t be spending this year. These are my tips on how to save money on your textbooks.
Use the online version.
During finals, one of my friends let a classmate borrow her Calculus textbook, only to never get it back. She quickly went on Google and downloaded the online version for free. How stupid did we all feel for actually buying it? This option isn’t available for all textbooks, but it’s definitely worth checking first.
A lot of colleges will allow you to buy your books online, which means that you have guaranteed easy access to used textbooks that previous students have sold back. The only down side to this option is that you don’t get to see the book before you buy it, so you might end up with highlighted sections or margin notes. This could be either good or bad, depending on who you are.
If you want to see the books before you buy them, get to campus a day or two before most other students arrive. Moving in early means that you have more time to settle in, and you can hit up your campus bookstore. Used books will still be available, and you can flip through them before buying.
Get it through the grapevine.
Your friends are always willing to give you a better price, and they’re usually easy to negotiate with. If you find a friend who is in your program, they might also be willing to sell you a bundle of necessary books for a lower price. There’s really no losing with this – the worst they can say is no.
How do you avoid paying full price for your textbooks?
Image courtesy of bradipo via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).