With school in full sway, we have to talk about how much we spend, particularly for materials. As much as we love books around here, no one wants to spend an arm and a leg on college textbooks! There are many factors to the increasing prices of textbooks, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t ways around them. Here are six ways to save your dollars, and minimize the damage textbooks can inflict on your wallet.
1. Avoid Hardback Texts, And Try To Find Loose Leaf If Possible
As pretty, sturdy, and borderline bulletproof hardback books are, these books take a heavy toll on your wallet. On the opposite end of the spectrum, loose leaf textbooks are probably the cheapest of them all, and as long as you have a three ring binder to store them, they aren’t that hard to maintain. Try to find these loose leaf alternatives if you can, and if you can’t, paperback is always better than hardback books. It may seem like a small amount saved, but trust me, it does add up.
2. Buy Your Books Pretty Much Anywhere Besides Your School
For the sake of convenience, buying your books at your school’s bookstore is the easiest method – and boy, does your school know it. Since professors can order specific books at the bookstore, colleges take advantage of this and the inflation of prices is so, so high. There are even college specific textbooks now: textbooks with the school’s name and mark, which makes it seem like that textbook is the one that’s needed. However, there are plenty of alternative sources: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, your local used bookstore, rentals… the list continues. Just make sure to check with your professor if there is a specific edition he/she wants you to use. You don’t want to miss out on content just because of prices.
3. Editions, Editions, Editions…
We’ve all seen these: where a textbook has (X) number of editions. While it seems like the textbook has gone through multiple revisions over the years, the fact of the matter is that a publisher will publish a new edition for the simplest, most irrelevant of changes. Unless your professor says specifically that there are big changes from edition to edition, go ahead and buy the oldest edition you can find. It’s way cheaper.
4. Buy Your Books A Few Days After Classes Start
It sounds like procrastinating, or just laziness, but this is actually a method plenty of students use to save money. A lot of professors have books that are optional, or even change a book needed last minute. There are also cases when a bookstore will lower the prices to sell remaining textbooks. It’s a little inconvenient at the beginning, but worth it for those who don’t want to bite the bullet with their wallets.
5. Work Around Those Pesky Access Codes
In the age of the Internet, access codes have become a harsh reality in the classroom. Publishers provide an access code in new textbooks for an online classroom, and they can only be used once. While access codes may give the impression that you have to buy a new textbook with an unused access code, that isn’t the case. Many publishers sell separate access codes on their websites, and students who didn’t end up using their access codes in class will sell them online for extra cash. Both are cheaper than buying a brand new textbook.
6. Take Good Care Of Your Books
When it comes to the end of a semester, the time to sell back any textbooks is an important one. You’ll only receive a fraction of what you paid, and even worse, the school will look for any reason to refuse a book. Some examples of these reasons are outdated, irrelevant, low demand, et cetera. That being said, do not let “damaged” or “excessive wear and tear” be reasons that you cannot sell back your book. This is especially important with rentals when a price for a textbook can go above what you have budgeted. Be mindful of your books: take notes on sticky notes or tabs, store them in areas where they won’t be the victim of spills or drops, and be especially careful with loose leaf textbooks.
Do you have any good tips for saving money on textbooks? Share below!
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Featured image via Flickr
h/t NY Daily News