Educating yourself is one of the most valuable investments you will ever make. The cost of a college education is skyrocketing at record speed. It is becoming more expensive to afford the tuition, room and board let alone the textbooks. Many parents are surprised and shocked at the cost of college textbooks.
Eliminating the cost of textbooks is close to impossible but minimizing the cost is possible.
Some money saving tips for college textbooks:
1. Used textbooks:
These textbooks may have some wear and tear but they work great. Previously owned textbooks can be found in the college bookstore or online for approximately 70% of the cost of a new book.
You might find even better prices if you buy directly from a student who is done using their book. Getting the book directly from a student avoids the bookstore mark-up.
2. Buy online:
Online retailers are usually less expensive than buying the textbooks at the college bookstore. Always include the shipping and handling costs.
• Use the ISBN (the international standard book number) when searching. An ISBN is a unique identifying number assigned to each book title. This will ensure you get the correct textbook.
• By buying online, you have skipped the college bookstore crowds which are unbearable at the beginning of each semester.
3. Borrow the Textbook:
Most of the textbooks can be found in the college library. This is a completely free way to use textbooks! It’s also possible to borrow the book from someone that took the same course the year or semester before you.
4. Share the Cost:
Get together with another student in the same course and share the book. This method takes a lot of cooperation and communication but it can be done. Once the book is sold at the end of the semester, you share the proceeds.
• Sharing means half the cost, but it also means half the access. Ensure it’s a book you can afford to do this with, rather than one you’ll need every day. Also, only try this with someone you know is reliable.
5. Look for an Older Edition.
The current edition is always far more expensive than a used copy of the last edition. Usually, the older editions have sufficient information for your class.
• Typically, very little has changed in the new edition. However, the page numbers can be different for the same material. Usually, this is because a chart or diagram was made smaller or larger and the text has been shifted around.
• The best way is to consult with your professor if the older edition is acceptable.
6. Rent the Book.
There are online companies that will rent textbooks for the semester at significantly less than the cost of a new book. At the end of the semester, just mail the book back. One example is www.chegg.com. You can also rent the electronic version of the book. Where they will grant you access to the book for a specified period of time.
7. Buy the international edition of the textbook.
Just as pharmaceutical companies sell drugs at different prices in different countries, publishing companies do the same thing. Look at a site like www.abebooks.com for the international edition.
• These books are in English and are usually identical to the US version except the cover. They aren’t sold in the US, but they can be imported and are frequently 80% cheaper.
College textbooks can be outrageously expensive, but those costs can be mitigated with some work and a plan. Get the syllabus as soon as possible and figure out the ISBN. Also allow time for shipping the book to you.
Now you’re ready to start your search, so compare all the available options. High tuition costs aren’t going to go away, but you can do something about the rising price of textbooks.