If you’re headed back to school, you’ll soon realize that tuition isn’t the only cost. That class that cost you hundreds—if not thousands—is going to require textbooks. The price of textbooks has quite a range, some costing as little as 99 cents, others costing hundreds. Your teacher might be kind enough to require an older edition, one that’s down in price compared to the newest, nearly same edition. Buying books for the best price can be like a game. I wish there was just one easy solution, a simple step. To win at the game there are several options. To ease you in, I’ll start with five:
1. Bookstore—Used & Rentals
The most logical first step when buying books is the school bookstore. While it may be the easiest—their job is to have the books for you—it’s not usually the cheapest. If you’re lucky they’ll have a comparison feature, allowing you to compare their prices to some of the other popular book buying portals. They may also give the option of buying used, or renting for a semester. There are pros and cons to both. Buying used will definitely save you money; so if that’s an option, go for it. Shop early for used books! The only issue is that the school bookstore has a limited amount of used. If you’re using the bookstore online service, there’s often an automatic switch to full price if the used item is no longer available. Check for that, and unclick the box that makes that the automatic option. As for rentals, it’s nice to pay less. The cons? If you miss the rental return date, you’ll be charged. The school bookstore is easy, but there are other options.
When you’re starting out in the book buying process, you’ll want to get familiar with Half.com. It’s people like you buying and selling books, for good prices. The books are organized by price and condition, and you can buy according to your own personal standards. Just type in the title and compare the options. Prices are low because the people on the other side of the computer are trying to keep prices competitive. Further, being familiar with Half.com will help when the semester ends. It gives you an easy spot to sell your books. It’s a simple set up, and most often you’ll get more money than if you sell them back to the school bookstore. It’s relatively convenient, and the savings are worth it.
Chegg.com is another great option, especially if you’re a procrastinator! You can save on textbooks by renting from Chegg.com. The best feature? Some books have an instant access option. Despite doing your best to stay ahead, there are going to be a couple of last minute book purchases, with the first chapter due next week. The instant access option will give you online access to the e-book while your book ships. No worries about falling behind before the semester gets under way.
4. Amazon Student
Discounted access to Amazon Prime might be reason enough to go back to school. If you haven’t gotten on the Prime bandwagon yet, now is the time. Prime has two-day shipping on tons of items, and in some cases same-day shipping. If you’re a student you’ll have 6 months free, and then four years at a discounted price. Like Half.com, Amazon compiles books and prices from different retailers. Used or new, the latest edition, the choices are yours. Same-day delivery. Priceless.
5. Phone a Friend
If the book price is more than you can swing, there’s always the option of phoning a friend. In the first week find your “classroom buddy,” as I like to call them. Ask if they’d be willing to split book costs, utilizing the copy machine and cutting the costs of textbooks in half. It’s riskier, because you’re relying on another human being to not forget the book or your copies. Still, the discounted price might be worth it. After all, sharing is caring.
Buying books is a game, and it’s worth learning how to play. Your best option is a combination of all five, which does require work on your part. Price compare and hunt down the cheapest books. Rent some, buy some, and share some. You’ll find the combination that works best for you.
Who Want to Go Back to School