During the rush to get settled in to your first week of college all your professors will remind you to buy your textbooks. Knowing that you’ll need these supplies for studying, you stroll happily into your college bookstore ready to purchase the materials you need.
Once you get inside the bookstore, however, your cheery feelings begin to fade. Walking through the aisles looking for your textbooks, you see the price tags of some of the surrounding titles. One psychology book is $200. A history book you spot is $250.
You pray that your books are cheaper, but once you gather your titles together you find that the grand total comes to well over $500. Grudgingly, you pull your debit card out of your pocket and sign away all the money you worked so hard to earn over summer.
Though this may seem unfortunate, it’s the story of many college freshmen. Books are expensive, and here are three tips to help you get the supplies you need without breaking the bank.
1. Buy Your Books Online
College bookstores always seem to increase prices by 30-50%. Searching online for the exact same textbook on sites like Amazon or Ebay may allow you to get the title you need for much less than you’ll get on campus.
The only downside to purchasing books online is that if classes have already started you may not receive your study materials until the second or third week of classes. If you can’t study until a few days before the first test then your books won’t be very helpful.
Consider buying your books before classes start if you’re going to buy online. This way, you can be prepared on day one while spending much less money than your peers.
2. Buy Online Editions of Your Books
Publishers love the profits they make off of physical books, but they need to put a lot of money into their production. Because of this, they often provide books online that are much cheaper than physical copies.
If a textbook runs for $200 in your college bookstore, the online edition will most likely cost half of that. Publishers are still making a fortune every semester but you’ll need to pay less for the same material.
3. Don’t Get Your Books at All!
Another option is to simply opt out of the textbook buying process altogether! You can often borrow textbooks from friends when necessary, and your library often stocks a couple of copies of every textbook for the classes your college offers. Professors will usually keep copies of the textbook as well in case students need to borrow them.
You may find trouble right before a test if library copies are checked out and your friends all need their own books for study, but opting to not buy books will save you hundreds of dollars at the beginning of the semester. If you just can’t afford your textbooks it is possible to find a way to study the material without making a purchase.