18 Aug

How to Pay LESS for Textbooks

As if rising college tuition and fees aren’t enough of a trial, textbook price hikes in recent years have meant that students and parents alike have also had to contend with inflating book expenses. Collegeboard reports that students spend over $800 per year on books alone!

While legislators in several states are trying to get government involvement to lower costs, the fact remains that textbooks are flat-out overpriced. Happily, I have a few ideas that can help you pay less for books the next time around!

Rent or Borrow

More and more students and professors are beginning to rally against high book prices, and that has lead several campuses to begin offering textbook rentals. As of spring 2008, the National Association of College Stores reported that textbook rental services were offered by 2.23% of their member stores in the U.S. and Canada. Students pay a fee for use of the book, and return it in good shape at the end of the quarter/semester. Some schools keep copies of required texts on campus, where students can borrow them for free from the library.

Split the Cost

Once your student has made some friends at school, he/she can consider splitting the cost of a book with a friend or roommate, and then passing it back and forth. Though this could get tricky during finals week, it is an arrangement that works very well for some students.

Consider E-Textbooks

Though not yet widespread, some textbooks are slowly becoming available as e-books. Look in to pricing on these and see what looks better-in some cases you can purchase individual chapters of a book, which could save money. But make sure you compare e-texts with your other options.

Buy Used, but NOT From the Bookstore

Campus bookstores are notorious for overpricing books-even used books. Students can usually find much better deals on books online. One site, CampusBooks.com, searches a collection of websites like Amazon, Half.com, and Barnes & Noble, to find the best price on each book.

Sell, Sell, Sell!

Money spent on books doesn’t have to go down the drain! Though it’s unlikely your student will recoup the entire cost of the books, he/she can usually get some of the value back.

Schools usually have textbook buy-back at the beginning & end of each quarter/semester, but your student will probably get a better price if he/she sells the book online.

All the best,
Deborah Fox

photo: Books in perspective by ijsendoorn

Add to Del.cio.us RSS Feed Add to Technorati Favorites Stumble It! Digg It!
    www.sajithmr.com

12 Responses to “How to Pay LESS for Textbooks”

  1. 1
    Evan Perry Says:

    I personally use BIGWORDS.com myself for all my text books needs. The reason I think they’re the best is that they compare many items at once, and calculate the best combination of stores to buy at, including coupons and shipping. They also let you include or exclude international editions, and they let you choose the ship time and then calculate the lowest price using the right shipping type at every store. Pretty neat!

  2. 2
    RT Says:

    The key to selling back your textbook is to do it immediately AFTER the session ends. I learned the hard way not to wait. I waited several weeks and unknowingly, the bookstore had reached their limit of used books for that course. Additionally, the next semester the course updated their textbook to the next edition.

  3. 3
    Pat Says:

    I think cheap-textbooks.co.nr has the best resources for finding the cheapest textbooks online.

  4. 4
    Wendy Says:

    The only resource I have used to purchase text books is the campus book stores. The books are over priced but I find it to be more convenient. I do not have to hassle with ordering the incorrect book and sending it back for the correct one. I would be concerned that I would not receive it timely.

  5. 5
    Elisa Dove Says:

    Textbook prices are outrageous. It would be great if we could receive half of the value we spend on books though the buy back program in the bookstore. It is difficult enough affording school tuition. I don’t understand why the textbooks are not included in the cost of the course. It would be easier to manage if it was an inclusive price. Thank you for the recommendations listed above. I will plan to take advantage of these programs next semester.

    Thank you for listening.

    Elisa Dove

  6. 6
    Tellaedhel Says:

    If you are buying new books on the beginning of each semester, planning on keeping those for yourself without reselling it, you do not have to read this comment. Myself, I do not. Each semester I go “textbook hunting” for the first few days. My favorite website is half.com sponsored by eBay. You can find new or used textbooks on there and pay at least four times less than in any bookstore. Also, if you are interested in getting an old edition, that will decrease the price even more. Be aware, that doing this, you might miss few of the pictures or tables that the new edition has.

  7. 7
    Eric Kearns Says:

    E-textbooks are a great idea. Remember the time you purchased a textbook and the professor used it for one chapter? There goes another $100 or more! I would relish in the opportunity to acquire only the chapters necessary for class. This also aides in reducing consumption of natural resources. Save the trees!

  8. 8
    Billy Kiser Says:

    We have all learned that college textbooks are overpriced and underused. To combat or offset the cost, one must be creative. First, you have to find out “Do you really need the book for your class”. Check the syllabus or with the instructor to see how often you will need to refer to the book or refer to it at all. Check with the library to see if they have a copy you can check out. If all else fails, buy the book and make Xerox copies of pages that are relevant to class and then return it. I realize this is not an option for every class, but for those where you can apply this practice, you will save some money.

  9. 9
    Viktoriya Apostu Says:

    I personally prefer Amazon.com. I have been in school for several years and noticed that books have gone up in price. This year, I compared prices from E-Bay and Half.com and found that Amazon offered lower prices. Another advantage of this website is that I can sell my books faster than I did on Half.com. In addition they offer international editions of many college textbooks.

  10. 10
    Billy Kiser Says:

    We have all learned that college textbooks are overpriced and underused. To combat or offset the cost, one must be creative. First, you have to find out “Do you really need the book for your class”. Check the syllabus or with the instructor to see how often you will need to refer to the book or refer to it at all. Check with the library to see if they have a copy you can check out. If all else fails, buy the book and make Xerox copies of pages that are relevant to class and then return it. I realize this is not an option for every class, but for those where you can apply this practice, you will save some money. If all else fails, ask the instructor if using a previous version of the book is okay. You can sometime find them cheaper.

  11. 11
    Mensch Says:

    I came across the following list of tips for spending less on college text books. A number of e-book and open source textbook sites are listed. Book swapping networks are another option:
    http://www.ehow.com/how_4725003_free-books-college.html

  12. 12
    claudia Says:

    Everything thing that you said on here was very helpful, the only problem I had was with the spliting the cost, I did that with a friend and we had some problems with who was geting the book when

Leave a Reply

© 2007-2010 Fox College Funding® | Entries (RSS) and Comments (RSS)

Securities offered through Securities America Inc., a Registered Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Securities America Advisors, a SEC Registered Investment Advisor. Fox College Funding and Securities America are unaffiliated.

GPS Reviews and news from GPS Gazettewordpress logo