College text a course in miracles for being very expensive. Sometimes you might wonder, “Is this a book or a brick of gold?” There are multiple ways of saving money when getting textbooks (renting, buying from the right places, and sharing), but you need to think about a few things before you start collecting each semester’s worth of books.
The first option is to buy your textbooks. If you are taking a series of courses (For example many of the lower level Chemistry, Calculus, and Physics courses at many colleges and universities use the same textbook for multiple semesters.) then buying your books might be the most cost efficient thing to do. Also if you are taking courses that are considered to be the basis of your major (like Calculus for math majors) sometimes buying those books is best because you will refer back to them whenever you need to remember a concept you may not have used in a while or to refer to information that is commonly used in your subject. I have also made money off of textbooks by purchasing them online and selling them back for a profit. This doesn’t always work, but if you find an excellent deal on a book then this is an option to make a little extra cash.
There are several places you can buy textbooks. The best place to buy textbooks is online. Sites like Amazon.com, Chegg.com, etc. are usually very competitive with each other. I have bought books online for my classes for 80% less than the nearby campus/off-campus bookstores. Make sure to plan your purchase so that you get your books in time. Don’t buy your books two days before class online and expect to have them in time for school to start unless you plan to pay for expedited shipping (which isn’t always offered). Usually it is best to buy used books when possible because they are typically much less expensive than new (this is at all locations). Occasionally you can’t buy a book online. If your professor/department gets a custom edition of a textbook for your university this is often the case (some professors naively believe that they are saving you money by doing this).
The second best choice for buying books is the book stores near campus, but not the official campus book store. Usually you can save anywhere from $5.00 to $20.00 per book. Plus these bookstores often give out more coupons to reduce the prices of books. I only ever buy books from the official campus book store if there are no books available anywhere else. This is because the campus book store is usually most expensive for everything (including school supplies).
Another option is to purchase eBooks. These can be beneficial if you own a laptop or tablet computer (or ereader…like Kindle). The advantage is that eBooks are less expensive than new books (and sometimes used books) and the programs you download them onto often include features to take notes and highlight important concepts, just as you would with a real book. The added benefit to this feature is you can search for specific topics much faster than flipping through a book. Plus you don’t have to carry multiple heavy books because they are all on one device.
Another option for books is to rent them for the semester. If you have a class, or classes that are just for the semester and really don’t have anything to do with your major, then renting may be the best option. Renting works great if you were just going to sell the book back anyway. If your campus book store doesn’t rent books don’t despair. There are online sites that will rent you your textbook for the semester (sometimes for less than many universities rent books). Some online book rental sites even include free shipping both ways.