Buying College Textbooks

Buying College Textbooks

High school students take having free books for granted. Most incoming college freshmen are in​ for a​ big shock when they see the price of​ their new calculus book. That's what my advice is​ here for. $150 for one book is​ a​ lot to​ swallow, not to​ mention the $30 lab manual that comes with it. Oh and did you forget the $15 CD too? Buying textbooks is​ very, very expensive. On average a​ student buying his/her books from the school bookstore can expect to​ pay anywhere from $300-$400. So you’re looking at​ spending nearly $750 for books the whole year. in​ this article I am going to​ discuss some of​ the unconventional means of​ acquiring your books for the semester.

Nearly all incoming students look up their book lists online a​ week before class starts and buys their books from the university bookstore. People make fun of​ freshman because they don’t know any better, and this is​ a​ prime example. I’ll admit it, I bought my first semester’s books from the university book store, and boy did it​ show in​ my pocket book. University bookstores (or bookstores on campus) have the highest mark-up of​ all stores. You are a​ fool if​ you buy your books from them. The only time I recommend buying your book from the university bookstore is​ when they are the only supplier. For instance, if​ your professor wrote his own book and you can only buy it​ through the school.

The next best method of​ buying books is​ from a​ bookstore off-campus. But even here you will still pay hundreds of​ dollars for books you probably won’t read. Off-campus bookstores are generally smaller and don’t have the selection size of​ a​ university bookstore. if​ you are buying off-campus be sure to​ pick your books up early, because they will probably run out.

In my opinion, the best method of​ buying books is​ online. You can not beat the prices. if​ you are new to​ college an​ unfamiliar with sites that sell textbooks, please visit Amazon (I have several links to​ them on my site). and Ebay are also excellent places to​ find new and used textbooks. Most teachers post their required textbooks online a​ few weeks before the semester starts. This is​ the perfect time to​ search Amazon for you book. You have to​ look early because shipping can take anywhere from a​ few days to​ two weeks. if​ you can wait the shipping time, buying online is​ the best option. I turned to​ online buying after my freshman year. it​ was the best money saving method I used all through college. You turn $350 semester book fees into a​ mere $150 (or less). It’s amazing how so few students are actually buying online. These companies are 100% safe. There is​ no reason not to​ buy online.

Now I will go through some of​ the pros and cons of​ buying books from our three different means.

On-campus Bookstore
Pro – prime location
Pro – save time
Pro – get the exact editions you need
Pro – offer new and used books
Pro – offer buy back plans
Con – too expensive
Con – you get like $10 buy back for a​ $100 book
Con – not as​ many used copies

Off-campus Bookstore
Pro – less expensive
Pro – lots of​ used books
Pro – offer buy backs
Con – may have older editions
Con – not located nearby (unless you live off campus)
Con – small selections

Online Bookstore
Pro – cheapest books anywhere
Pro – get exactly the book you need
Pro – buy anytime
Con – have to​ wait 1-2 weeks for delivery

Some other tips on how to​ save money when it​ comes to​ buying books
Tip 1. Share a​ book with a​ friend
Tip 2. Always buy used
Tip 3. Buy previous editions (the books don’t change, trust me)
Tip 4. Look if​ the book is​ in​ e-book form
Tip 5. Swap books with other students

If you are going to​ get anything out of​ this article, the most important point being made is​ to​ be smart with your money. Buy your books online. it​ is​ by far the cheapest method. You can buy previous editions of​ the book you need for a​ fraction of​ the price. Editions don’t change from year to​ year. Buying edition 4 instead of​ 5 will not make a​ difference. This is​ based on my experiences, the pages numbers and writing will be exactly the same. Publishing textbooks is​ all a​ big scam. They update editions every year or​ two and expect us to​ buy them for $150.

Also, please be cautious when buying books from a​ bookstore on or​ near campus. They will tell you “Bring you book back at​ the end of​ the year and you will get CASH!” They always make up these gimmicks that put a​ picture of​ you stuffing wads of​ twenties in​ your wallet. What they don’t tell you is​ that they don’t always buy books back. if​ a​ new edition comes out, guess what, you’re screwed. I would say 75% of​ the time you will wait in​ the buy back line and they will say “I’m sorry, we aren’t buying that book back”. if​ this does happen to​ you I suggest you make an​ Amazon account and sell your book online. I’ve done it, and it​ works.

For more information on how to​ save money when buying textbooks, or​ if​ you have any questions in​ general, please email me at​

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