Next to tuition and room/board, one of the biggest expenses associated with college is textbooks. Obviously, college books are mandatory regardless of the area of study or degree being pursued but as with other college expenses, the cost continues to rise. Now, someone taking six to nine credit hours would need fewer books in most cases than someone taking a full load but even then, some books are extremely expensive.
The good news is that there are methods for saving on the cost of college books. For starters, you could consider used books. In most cases, messages by other students are posted on the community board but sometimes, students will post advertisements in the local or school paper. You could also look for used college textbooks online through websites such as Amazon and eBay.
While going with used college books is one way of saving money, there is an important aspect of going this route to consider. In some cases, information changes to such a degree that a book even from the prior year would be considered outdated. In addition, some teachers require students to purchase new books so before purchasing any used college textbooks, it would be important to talk to the teacher to make sure the content would be the same from the prior year and that buying something used is acceptable.
In addition to buying used college books, you have other options for saving on the cost. For instance, if you know someone going to the same college or university and taking the same class, you may be able to share. Obviously, this would require good coordination and strong agreement but if the schedule permits, sharing would be a viable option. One note on this is that often, students will mark in books to coordinate with the way they learn so if sharing, it would be recommended that no one mark or write in the book in respect for the other individual.
Another option for saving on the cost of college books is to shop early. It is common for on campus bookstores to carry used books that would be acceptable from the prior year but as you can imagine, they go quickly. Therefore, the minute you know the courses you will take, hit the bookstore associated with the college or university to see if they happen to have any previously used books for sale.
You should also consider shopping for your college books at on off campus bookstore. The price of books and other college expenses are usually much higher at an on campus store versus one off campus so take advantage of this opportunity to shop around. Again, good planning is the key so once selecting your classes, we strongly recommend you start looking for the books at an off campus bookstore immediately.
The college or university library is also an excellent source. Typically, libraries on campus will maintain copies of most textbooks for the current year. In this case, you would be required to check the book or books out just as you would with a regular library book. However, most libraries have strict policies since other students would depend on the same books so once given a return date, you would need to check out the book again to keep it longer or turn it back in so others can benefit too.
The last two options for saving money on college books are to rent them or download them from the internet. Several companies now offer the option of renting textbooks, which for many is an excellent solution. Then, with the internet finding books to download has become quite easy. As you can see, you have many possibilities for saving money on college books over purchasing them brand new.