As if college wasn’t expensive enough, we lose even more money on something many of us never even use… those DAMN BOOKS!
They get us every year: gotta have the special accounting book with the CD, the perfectly crafted manuscript for your Art History lecture, or all those tiny, stupid books for English Literature… why, why, WHY!? Because.they.can.
I think it’s time to show em’ who’s boss! Start by saving money and aggravation with these tips on how to save $ on books from College Cures!
Saving Tip #1: Borrow From Friends
This tip may seem like the most effort, but why not give it a shot? Send out messages to friends whom you know have taken the class before or may know someone in majoring in the area of study and see if they still have the book.
Be Quick About It
You can’t expect to get the book if you wait until the last week of exams to ask for it. Make the effort to ask at least a month before the term ends. That way, your friend will be aware of the fact that you want the book and won’t bother trying to re-sell it at the end of the year (or give it away to someone else).
If They Want Their Cut…
This person may not be your best friend who would be willing to part with the book for free, so if they ask for money, offer them a reasonable price so neither of you gets screwed. Look up how much the school would give him/her for it and offer them a fair trade.
Doing this may end up saving you a lot of time and money as you won’t have to scramble around looking for the book the following semester or pay the upgraded price for a “new edition.”
Saving Tip #2: WAIT before you BUY
How many times have you purchased a bunch of expensive books for class and never opened them? Or how about professors who make you buy the book, but they hardly reference it or don’t use it at all? Be realistic: if you don’t plan on going to class or even using the book, then don’t bother buying it!
Instead of Splurging When You Get Your Syllabus…
test the waters for a week or two in order to get a sense of whether or not you will need the book. If your professor gives you daily assignments which require you to read a bunch of chapters and then answer questions from the book, then you may have to buy it. But if you go two weeks into the class and your professor doesn’t even mention the book, then go with your instincts and skip the purchase.
Talk to Previous Students in the Class
To get a better idea of whether or not the book was even used, try asking people who have taken the class what they thought.
Don’t Know Anyone Who Took the Class?
Look up your professor on RateMyProfessor.com. Often times, students will post information about the class itself, like whether or not the book was a waste of money.
Saving Tip #3: Rent, Don’t Buy!
We all know Amazon is a popular site for buying new/used books, but how about renting books? Sites like CampusBookRental.com, BookRenter.com, and Chegg.com are great for students strapped for cash or for those who want to “brush up” for the final exam (aka skipped all the classes and now it’s time catch up).
Split the Costs
Taking the course with a friend? Why not split the cost of renting so the two of you can share? This way, you have someone else to push you to do assignments and to study for exams, and you know what they say, two heads are better than one!
Check Out the Area
Often times there are businesses who rent books locally to universities/colleges, you just have to do a little investigating. For example, GRAY’S College Bookstore rents textbooks locally for the University of Central Florida.
Do a quick search online for businesses that rent textbooks to students at a low price in your area; you may be surprised and save a bunch of green!
Saving Tip #4: Use Old Editions
Books companies like to “update” their textbooks every year so they have an excuse for people to buy a newer edition of a required book, thus making the company more money. There usually is little to no difference between the old and the new editions, however, you still have to do a little work to find out.
Use a friend
If you know someone in the class who has the book, you can compare your older edition to the newer one to find the discrepancies (if there are any). Go through your syllabus and find all of the assignments in your friends’ book then go through yours and make a note of different page numbers, new/different questions, footnotes, etc.