While purchasing textbooks at the university bookstore is convenient, it can cost significantly more than other suppliers charge for exactly the same books. By planning ahead and choosing a less expensive method for obtaining needed textbooks, students can save big and pocket the difference in price. Here are a few tips that can help students save money on their required textbooks.
Comparison shop online
By comparing prices from online bookstores like Amazon and Borders, students can often find bargains on the textbooks required for their classes. Many of these online merchants offer discounted or free shipping with a minimum purchase, making them a still better deal. Used textbooks may be available direct from the merchant or through affiliated independent vendors; these can offer significant savings as well.
Consider older editions
Some textbooks are available in multiple editions; typically, the older versions contain nearly all of the same material. Changes in newer editions can sometimes be found online, allowing students to add in the additional course material, while pocketing what can sometimes be a substantial difference in price.
Investigate alternative sources
Sites like eBay and Craigslist can be valuable resources for finding textbooks at reasonable prices. Most of the books available through these sites are being sold by other students, and are often in new or like new condition. This makes them an exceptional value for the money. Buyers should be cautious, however; while eBay offers buyer protection services, those who purchase through Craigslist or similar online sites should exercise care, since no such protections exist for buyers.
Be a borrower
Some textbooks may be available from local university or public libraries; this can eliminate the cost of textbooks altogether in some cases. Additionally, if friends have already taken the course in question, students may be able to borrow the textbooks for the duration of the course. This method is not available to everyone, but offers the largest savings on the required materials.
Pursue alternative media
More and more textbooks are available for download online; this generally represents a hefty savings over the cost of those same textbooks in print. Some textbooks are also available in CD or DVD formats; these can cost 50% less than the same textbook in print in some cases. Lesser savings can be achieved by purchasing the book in paperback rather than the hardbound edition when the option is available.
This above guest post was written by Richard Hemby who regularly writes about accredited online degrees and college related topics for Online College Guru, an online college degree guide.