Purchasing college textbooks can be a source of frustration and stress for many students because of the hefty price of university-level material. Although one book alone might not be particularly expensive, buying several books for different classes can be financially draining to students. In spite of this difficulty, there are several ways a student can save money on college textbooks. Shopping smart, purchasing used books, renting or borrowing reading material or sharing a book with a classmate are all ways that students can decrease the amount of money they spend on textbooks.
Learning how to shop smart and effectively is essential for a student to begin saving money on college textbooks. For instance, students can look on the Internet and in bookstores for coupons or discounts that can be used on books prior to the start of the term, because some sellers have deals specifically targeted toward students. Additionally, it is advisable that a student waits until after he or she has attended the first class to buy a book for a course. Though buying textbooks in advance might be tempting, it can actually be a disservice to a student if he or she chooses to drop the course, or if the professor announces a change in books during the first class period.
Another way for students to save money on college textbooks is to buy used books whenever possible. Secondhand textbooks are a popular choice among many students, and most campus bookstores will carry several copies of used books. Used books also can be purchased online. Although used textbooks are often battered and contain notes and markings made by previous owners, they are generally in good enough condition for continued use, and they cost considerably less than new books.
Furthermore, students can save money on textbooks by renting or borrowing. Several campus bookstores also have affordable and discounted renting options if a student chooses not to purchase a book. A person can also rent books online at specialty websites or can purchase a digital copy of the book that is available only for the duration of a term. Another option is to borrow books from a campus or local library, which allows the student the option of foregoing the purchase of a book altogether. College libraries will often keep more than one copy of textbooks that are frequently used for common courses.
Finally, sharing a book among classmates is another excellent way to save money on college textbooks, and it can be done in a number of ways. For instance, a small group of students can agree to split the cost of a book and can then rotate it among the group. Another method would be for one person to buy the book and then to allow classmates to borrow the book for a lending fee determined at his or her discretion.