Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How to Purchase Textbooks

*So this post is a bit out of the ordinary for my blog, but since I & so many college kids are heading back to school I wanted to share this.*

I have my school book buying system down pact.  Buying school books, especially textbooks can be extremely expensive, something that is a blow to anyone on a college budget, because of this since my freshmen year I have worked super hard to find the best & least expensive prices for the books I need.  Fortunately I have done really, really well when it comes to buying books.  As I mentioned on Friday, my younger sister left for college this past weekend, & recently her & a few of her friends (even their parents!) have been asking me how I go about buying books, so I decided to do a post that they & any other college freshmen (or anyone in college) could check out.  Hopefully this will be helpful & people can pass it onto other college students they know.


So when it comes to getting books there are so many options out there.  My #1 piece of advice is if you do not have to get a new book for the class (sometimes you need new books because they come with access codes or work books) would be to look into renting the books you need.  My school offers really inexpensive book rentals (& so do a lot of other schools, & websites) & all you have to do at the end of the semester is to return the book, it's so simple, stress free, & will save you a ton of money.  Another plus is that you can write in the rentals, which is helpful for a lot of people.  My #2 piece of advice is again if you don't have to get a new book then buy a used one, they cost a lot less then a new one & who cares if your book looks a little worn?  Chances are a lot of people's books will look the same!  Now when purchasing or even renting books there are several different sites to compare prices, yes price comparisons take extra time, but it is 100% worth it to get the best prices out there.  What I do is check all of the websites I am going to list, create a list of the prices I find, & when I'm done checking everywhere I purchase the books with the best price tag, make sure to also check out the shipping prices before purchasing!

School Book Store- look into prices at the bookstore, usually they are overpriced, but sometimes they'll surprise you.

Amazon- this is the classic place to buy college books, sometimes they have the best prices, but sometimes they don't so check around!  Last year I got my book set (textbook, workbook, & CDs) for my Russian class $10 cheaper here then my school bookstore, which is where our teacher recommended we get it. Rentals available for some books.

Barnes & Noble (website)- they have competitive pricing on textbooks, which surprised me when I got to school.  Last year I got a textbook for my science class here that was supposed to be $200 for $12.95 (a used copy), I got the best deal in my class.  Rentals available for some books.

Chegg.com- competitive pricing, rentals available for some books.

Bookrenter.com- all rentals!

Half.com- a division of eBay.


A lot of schools are now allowing students to use tablets in class to take notes & store books.  I personally have to do this, as I have some back & shoulder problems that prevent me from carrying anything heavy.  If you are looking to eliminate paper I would highly recommend purchasing an iPad, they are amazing for school work--you can take notes & pictures of the board or demonstrations to plug into your notes (I've used Evernote & Notability), & there are so many different apps that you can use to compare book prices, sometimes these apps even give you the option to rent depending on the book.  Overall, ebooks tend to be much less expensive then actual books.  Sometimes you may have to do a little more searching, but it's definitely worth it!

Kindle App- check out & purchase Kindle books through Amazon, this is probably my favorite book app.  Rentals available for some books.

Nook App- check out & purchase books through Barnes & Nobles's website, I've gotten some really cheap books through them!  Rentals available for some books.

CourseSmart App- this is a dedicated textbook app, they have a great selection.  Their rentals, which are available for some books, are always great.

Kno App- this is also a dedicated textbook app.  Rentals available for some books.

iBooks App- this is good for classes that you need novels for as they don't have a great selection of textbooks.

If you have any questions about buying textbooks please feel free to contact me.  Are there any places that I haven't mentioned that you use to buy your books?
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