Tips on Buying Textbooks

Students pursuing higher education often do so on limited budgets. One way that students can make the best use of their money is by finding the cheapest available option for each of their required textbooks. The first place many students go to acquire their required textbooks is their college or university bookstore. While many of these bookstores offer both new and used textbooks, it may be possible to find less expensive books elsewhere. The college bookstore is still a good place to start out because you can keep their prices in mind as you comparison shop elsewhere. While on campus, it is a good idea to check out bulletin boards and the school paper for students offering to re-sell their old textbooks for a reasonable price. Websites are also a valuable resource for finding others selling used books. Websites, such as Amazon.com or Half.com, allow buyers to purchase these books with minimal risk. Checking the ISBN will ensure that you have found the identical textbook. Students may also find that previous editions of the textbook will be available at low prices. If the differences are insignificantly minor, or your professor gives you the go-ahead, this can be a real money-saver.

But before you buy, check out your school and local library. Often, they will have a previous edition of the textbook. If the required book is a classic literary work, your chances of finding it at the library are even better. In order to take advantage of this possibility, you may need to get to the library early before your fellow students check out all the available copies.

If you suspect that you will not be making frequent use of a certain textbook, consider sharing one with a dependable classmate and splitting the cost. You can estimate how often you will need the textbook by examining the course syllabus and asking students who have previously taken the same course.

When you are finished with your textbooks, you might consider re-selling them. Some colleges acquire their used textbooks through buying back their previously sold items, and bulletin boards and websites are also viable options here too. Higher education is often unavoidably expensive, but researching prices on used or previous editions of textbooks, finding the least expensive seller, checking library availability, and considering re-selling textbooks, students can use their limited funds wisely.

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