Did you know that the average student will spend around $1,200 on college textbooks this year? According to nbcnews.com, the cost of textbooks has increased 1,041% since 1977. Because of this, over 60% of students have said that they don’t buy their required books. There are a number of alternatives to paying the premium for books, but not buying them at all isn’t one of them.
1. Avoid The Campus Bookstore
While going to the campus bookstore is the most convenient option, it can be the most expensive. If you purchase a book through the campus bookstore, you will be paying a bookstore markup. On campus, the book price is generally raised by 25-28%. That markup pays for the cost of running the bookstore, taxes, utilities and employee salaries.
2. Check The Library
Often, the campus library will have your required textbook. Professors sometimes provide the library books for students to use. However, these books are usually not allowed to be signed out. This means that you will have to do all of your assignments in the library, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Many students often go to the library to do assignments anyway because it’s quiet and there are less distractions. Make sure that you reserve your books in advance, and especially as exams approach. You don’t want to show up to do your reading or assignment, only to find out that someone else is currently using the book. But if you plan ahead, using the library as a resource can save you a lot of money.
Renting is a far cheaper option that purchasing. You can rent from your campus bookstore, or online. Just make sure that you won’t be needing the book after your class has ended, because you will have to give it back. Also, explore buy-back programs before renting. If you can buy a book for $100 and sell it back for $75, that is cheaper than renting the book for $30. However, many classes require new editions each year and selling your book back might not be an option. Renting can save you money, but make sure you return it on time to avoid late fees and search for options that offer free shipping for your return.
4. Ask Around Campus
Ask your fellow classmates about books. Students are always looking to sell their books from last semester, and this can provide you with the opportunity to negotiate prices. Be sure to check with the professor that you are getting the exact edition that you need.
5. Split The Difference
You can split the cost of a book if you and another classmate have the same class. Just be sure that you both won’t be needing the book at the same time.
6. Go Electronic
If you have to buy new, consider buying the e-book. You don’t have to pay for the materials used to make the book, so they are often cheaper than buying the physical copy. They are also quicker to obtain. Instead of waiting for shipping, you can start downloading right away.
Do any of you have tips for saving on college textbooks or supplies? Let me know!
Also, be sure to to enter the Bucks For Books contest, where you can win $500, $300 or $200 toward your college textbooks!