Lower the Cost of Education By Saving Money on Textbooks
Pursuing a college education is by no means inexpensive and we understand every students desire to save money whereever they can. As you assess your education options and prioritize how you'll allocate your schooling budget, some things are more important to invest in than others. For example, as we mentioned in our article on school accreditation, investing more to obtain an education from an accreditted school is certainly in your best interest because it will deliver you long-term value. One the other hand, we highly encourage students to avoid investing top dollar on things like textbooks, that won't benefit you in the long run. While the expense of textbooks and related course material is inevitable, with the proper planning and persistence you should be able to save yourself hundreds of dollars over the course of your education. Here are some helpful tips we've compiled from other cost-conscious students:
TIP #1: Register as early as possible
Students have repeatedly said that taking advantage of early registration was key in their ability to save money on their textbooks. Early registeration is important because colleges are required to provide students with a list of assigned textbooks during course registration. This will allow you to get the headstart you need to research your money-saving options. You can search for used copies, book rental options or shop any number of discount websites for a new copy of the books you need.
TIP #2: Develop your textbook shopping list
If you have a smartphone, we suggest using FREE mobile apps such as Evernote to keep track of all of the following information for each book you'll need:
- Name and volume/edition of the book
- Name of the author
- Book's International Standard Book Number (ISBN), found on or near the barcode on the back of book
- Price of the book
TIP #3: Don't forget about your local library
You'd be surprised how many people forget about their library as a potential resource for textbooks. Ahh, the good old Dewey Decimal System. Drop into your school library and the local public library and check out their catalogue. If you can't find a book there ask a librarian about inter-library loans. You might get lucky and be able to check out your books for as long as you'll need them. Again, registering early for your classes is critical if you plan to take advantage of this resource as supplies will be limited. If the library does not have the current edition, ask if they have a previous edition, they may have much of the same information (see below on previous editions).
TIP #4: Scour the Internet
So, your local library didn't have the book you need or maybe you're the kind of student that likes to take notes in your books, you might want to do some comparison shopping online. Referring back to TIP #2 and the list that you created, go to search engines like Google or Bing, online booksellers or sites like Amazon.com and type the book's International Standard Book Number (ISBN). In the unlikely event that you don't come up with some exact matches, you can try using the other information you wrote down on your shopping list to find the correct book. Whether you're interested in buying new, used or even renting the books you need, be sure to check multiple sites. You'll also want to look for special offers such as FREE shipping, returns or book bundles.
TIP #5: Check out a local bookstore
If you can find a bricks and morter bookstore that's still open, you may be able to find a good deal locally. Even if you can't quite match an online price locally, you'll be able to see the book before you purchase and get the satisfaction that you're helping local merchants fight the good fight.
TIP #6: Scour your campus
At some colleges, student groups sell used textbooks for previous students. Ask your friends, look at flyers around campus, and watch the student paper or social networking sites for deals.
Aside from finding a great deal on your books, there are other ways that you can reduce your book expenses. You might want to consider:
- Book sharing with other students that are pursing the same degree
- Reselling your books when you're done with them
If you're going to resell your books, go back to the same places you went to look for used books and find out what they're willing to pay. If your book is in high demand, you may be able to sell a book online within a day, and at a much higher price than you'll get at the bookstore.