How To Save Cash On School Textbooks

It’s a standard trope: going to varsity is pricey. There’s tuition, the overpriced cafeteria plan, and the cramped dorm room that prices greater than your mum or dad’s mortgage. School prices have outpaced inflation and wages for years, and the prices might be seen in every single place. Particularly in textbook costs.

In accordance with knowledge 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 3 times. Shopping for textbooks is a vital evil, however if you happen to plan forward, there are methods to spend much less.

Purchase Them Used

Shopping for used textbooks is an outdated trick and may prevent a whole bunch of a 12 months. Sadly, most individuals learn about this technique. The secret’s to start out looking for books as quickly as you get the category guide listing. You’ll find used textbooks on-line at websites like or You can even search for books on eBay or

Take the time to check costs on all these websites earlier than shopping for your copy. Ensure that to search for the ISBN quantity as an alternative of the title or creator otherwise you would possibly wind up with a Spanish model of your Econ textbook. When you’re finished with the books, you possibly can resell them on these websites to earn some a reimbursement.

Shopping for Older Editions

While you get your textbook listing for the following semester, you most likely see the most recent version listed. The most recent editions are nearly all the time dearer and there are fewer used copies, particularly if the version was launched lately. There are sometimes little to no large variations in these new editions, apart from the value. A 2019 copy of a textbook might be 10% dearer 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 lease and $27.49 to purchase from The fifth version of the identical guide prices $37.49 to lease 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 might be a number of totally different pages. If it’s a must to 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 be sure you confirm what chapter or part it’s essential learn for homework. Nonetheless, this small inconvenience could also be value it.

Contact the professor or instructor’s assistant and ask them if it’s a must to get the most recent version. Ask your professor what number of books you really want. It’s widespread for a professor to incorporate advised books in your listing that you simply don’t really want for the category. E mail the professor as quickly as potential to seek out out what’s vital and what’s elective. I as soon as had a journalism professor who requested us to purchase nearly 10 books for the category, however we solely ever learn a few them.

Renting Textbooks

Renting textbooks is normally 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 useful if you happen to’re going to check overseas or stay distant and hate lugging your heavy books to the campus bookstore.

The one draw back to renting a textbook is that you simply’ll be charged a price if you happen to return it late, if the guide is broken or if you happen to by chance spotlight a passage. For those who lose the guide, you may additionally face some hefty fines.

Renting will not be potential for each version, and generally is reserved for extra well-liked books. Earlier than renting a textbook, evaluate the ultimate price to a used copy you will discover. Then, see how a lot you may get when promoting that used copy. You’ll typically get between 30-50% of what you paid for it, relying on the guide. 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 a superb buddy, contemplate splitting the price of your textbooks with them. This works finest if you happen to’re in a category with a roommate or somebody in your dorm.

It is a nice various if you happen to can’t discover a used copy of the guide, however don’t wish to spend a whole bunch on a brand new copy.

Determine the way you’ll divide up the readings. If this can be a individual you already examine with regularly, you’ll know if you happen to work nicely collectively.

Utilizing E-Books

Some textbooks have e-books you can purchase or lease. These could also be cheaper than shopping for a brand new model, however you need to nonetheless evaluate costs earlier than buying. You’ll find ebooks on Amazon or, two of the most well-liked on-line retailers for digital textbooks.

E-books are useful when you have a pill or e-reader and don’t thoughts not having a bodily copy to mark up. If it’s essential take notes in your guide, then utilizing e-books will solely damage your research.

Keep in mind to check e-book costs with used copies. Some e-books are dearer as a result of you could have entry by means of a wide range of platforms.

Borrowing them from the Library

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

If it’s essential borrow a textbook from the library, put it on maintain as quickly as you possibly can. This technique works nicely if you happen to solely want the textbook for a brief time frame or if you happen to can copy the pages you want with out spending a fortune on Xerox charges. It could even be cheaper to pay a late price to maintain the guide for the entire semester than to purchase your personal copy.

You must also test your native metropolis library to see if they’ve any copies. These could also be extra accessible than copies out of your college’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 all the pieces in between. She has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth and Time. Examine how she paid off $28,000 value of scholar loans in three years at Debt Free After Three.

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