How To Save Cash On Faculty Textbooks

It’s a typical trope: going to school is dear. There’s tuition, the overpriced cafeteria plan, and the cramped dorm room that prices greater than your guardian’s mortgage. Faculty prices have outpaced inflation and wages for years, and the prices will be seen all over the place. Particularly in textbook costs.

Based on information from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, school textbook costs have elevated greater than 1,000% since 1977. This implies costs for textbooks have outgrown inflation by greater than thrice. Shopping for textbooks is a crucial evil, however when you plan forward, there are methods to spend much less.

Purchase Them Used

Shopping for used textbooks is an previous trick and might prevent a whole bunch of a 12 months. Sadly, most individuals find out about this technique. The bottom line is to start out looking for books as quickly as you get the category e-book checklist. You’ll find used textbooks on-line at websites like or You can too search for books on eBay or

Take the time to match costs on all these websites earlier than shopping for your copy. Be sure to search for the ISBN quantity as an alternative of the title or writer otherwise you may wind up with a Spanish model of your Econ textbook. When you’re achieved with the books, you possibly can resell them on these websites to earn some a reimbursement.

Shopping for Older Editions

If you get your textbook checklist for the following semester, you most likely see the most recent version listed. The most recent editions are virtually all the time costlier and there are fewer used copies, particularly if the version was launched lately. There are sometimes little to no big variations in these new editions, aside from the value. A 2019 copy of a textbook will be 10% costlier than a 2009 model.

Right here’s a real-world instance. The fourth version of “Microeconomics” by Paul Krugman and Robin Wells prices $16.99 to hire and $27.49 to purchase from The fifth version of the identical e-book prices $37.49 to hire and $50.99 for a used copy. A brand new copy of the fifth version prices $97.49.

That’s a distinction of $10-$20 or extra for what could possibly be a number of completely different pages. If you must purchase a dozen books for all of your lessons, you may save a whole bunch of by getting an earlier version. Generally web page numbers could also be barely off so remember to confirm what chapter or part it’s worthwhile to learn for homework. Nonetheless, this small inconvenience could also be value it.

Contact the professor or trainer’s assistant and ask them if you must get the most recent version. Ask your professor what number of books you really want. It’s frequent for a professor to incorporate prompt books in your checklist that you just don’t really want for the category. E mail the professor as quickly as doable to seek out out what’s crucial and what’s optionally available. I as soon as had a journalism professor who requested us to purchase virtually 10 books for the category, however we solely ever learn a few them.

Renting Textbooks

Renting textbooks is often cheaper than shopping for them used, and also you don’t have to fret about promoting them again on the finish of the 12 months. That is helpful when you’re going to check overseas or stay far-off and hate lugging your heavy books to the campus bookstore.

The one draw back to renting a textbook is that you just’ll be charged a charge when you return it late, if the e-book is broken or when you unintentionally spotlight a passage. For those who lose the e-book, you may additionally face some hefty fines.

Renting might not be doable for each version, and typically is reserved for extra well-liked books. Earlier than renting a textbook, examine the ultimate value to a used copy yow will discover. Then, see how a lot you will get when promoting that used copy. You’ll usually get between 30-50% of what you paid for it, relying on the e-book. The price of renting could outweigh shopping for a used copy.

Sharing with a Good friend

For those who’re in the identical class as buddy, think about splitting the price of your textbooks with them. This works greatest when you’re in a category with a roommate or somebody in your dorm.

It is a nice different when you can’t discover a used copy of the e-book, however don’t need to spend a whole bunch on a brand new copy.

Work out the way you’ll divide up the readings. If this can be a particular person you already examine with regularly, you’ll know when you work effectively collectively.

Utilizing E-Books

Some textbooks have e-books that you may purchase or hire. These could also be cheaper than shopping for a brand new model, however you need to nonetheless examine costs earlier than buying. You’ll find ebooks on Amazon or, two of the preferred on-line retailers for digital textbooks.

E-books are helpful when you’ve got a pill or e-reader and don’t thoughts not having a bodily copy to mark up. If it’s worthwhile to take notes in your e-book, then utilizing e-books will solely harm your research.

Keep in mind to match e-book costs with used copies. Some e-books are costlier as a result of you might have entry by a wide range of platforms.

Borrowing them from the Library

Some school libraries hold spare copies of textbooks available for college kids, however they’re usually restricted and on a first-come, first-serve foundation.

If it’s worthwhile to borrow a textbook from the library, put it on maintain as quickly as you possibly can. This technique works effectively when you solely want the textbook for a brief time period or when you can copy the pages you want with out spending a fortune on Xerox charges. It might even be cheaper to pay a late charge to maintain the e-book for the entire semester than to purchase your personal copy.

You also needs to examine your native metropolis library to see if they’ve any copies. These could also be extra out there than copies out of your faculty’s library.

Zina Kumok (66 Posts)

Zina Kumok is a contract author specializing in private finance. A former reporter, she has lined homicide trials, the Last 4 and every part in between. She has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth and Time. Examine how she paid off $28,000 value of pupil loans in three years at Debt Free After Three.

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