Monday, May 27, 2013

$300 for a TEXTBOOK? Save that money, honey, and buy yourself something nice.

Well, it has been a little while since I posted last. Summer semester has officially started! I knew that when I tried to use a Butterfinger bar as the TV remote. Heck, I knew that when I bought three Butterfinger bars. Out of sheer embarrassment of having tried to use a candy bar as the TV remote, I promptly ate it.

Welcome to my most shameful moment. :)

I will be graduating in December, if everything goes as planned, and of course that means I am taking summer courses. Three, to be exact. That means three classes worth of books to buy, which can be very expensive! One of my books alone cost upward of $300. Another was $125! Another professor used a custom textbook, which was cheaper, although not as cheap as I would have liked, and cannot be sold back. Over the years I have discovered several different ways to avoid paying the astronomical costs of new (and even used!) textbooks, and since this has been on my mind lately, I thought I would write a post about it. Admittedly, this is not the most interesting post I have ever written, but it needs to be said! Here is how not to pay the usually-exorbitant costs of textbooks, so you can use your money for more important things, like Butterfingers. :)

1. Rent your textbooks.There are so many book rental companies out there, so price-shopping is easy to do. You can choose the best price and the best shipping option, and use your book for the entire semester for only a fraction of the regular cost. The best part about renting textbooks is that you send them back to the rental company when you finish using them. This is awesome, because you are not left with the responsibility of figuring out what to do with the book, trying to get the most of your money back, etc. I have figured out that I can rent my textbooks for roughly the amount of money that I would be receiving from the bookstore if I tried to sell them back! So, if I paid $300 for a book, and sold it back to the bookstore, I might get a third of that back, MAYBE. so that leaves $200 (or more!) that I spent and am not getting back.
I was able to rent my $300 textbook for around $60, and my $125 textbook for $25 (although I found out later I could have gotten it even cheaper. Fail for me!).
Some of the textbook rental companies I have had the best luck with are:

- Chegg: I like this one best because they send you a box and postage that will allow you to easily send the book back at the end of the semester when you're done using it. Additionally, they send all sorts of coupons and samples when you rent your textbooks from them. I really like that. Score!

- They offer coupons also, although in my opinion, not as good as Chegg. They do nice fast shipping though, so that is a bonus.

- Amazon: I love Amazon. Who doesn't? They offer textbook rentals for a price comparable to the other rental companies, along with the option to purchase books on your kindle. The electronic option can still be sort of expensive, but is very handy if you like to have all of your textbooks in one device.

There are so many more textbook rental companies, these are just a few, so browse them all before renting and make sure you get the best price!

2. Buy an older version. This is, of course, if it is not imperative that you have the absolute newest version of the book. I was able to use the same finance book for two classes, and I bought one version older than the one being used for $4 on Amazon, as opposed to the $150+ newest version of the book. The only downside to doing this is that when the professor refers to page numbers during a lecture, the page number in your book may not correspond. I never had a problem trying to find the information, though, if it made sure I did not have to pay a ton of money for textbooks!

3. If the book is a supplemental, share the cost with a friend. I have a class that uses a supplemental case book and assigns case analyses from that book. They only occur every few weeks, so a friend and I split the cost of the book and make copies of the assigned pages (a case does not take up too many pages and we can make copies for free at school) for one of us to use. This really only works if you have a book you are only using sporadically.

4. Borrow the book from a friend. This one is obvious, and you might want to offer to buy it for cheap from your friend, or to give him or her a little bit of money for using it (usually friends don't want your money, but I like to offer anyway) before returning it. This is a great way to do things because the book may still be able to be sold back when the classes are over.

These are the main ways I get around paying ridiculous amounts for textbooks, but I know there are more out there! I hope they helped. How do you get around paying full price for textbooks?

1 comment:

  1. I've bought the international editions before to save money. The page numbers are a little off, but it some classes it doesn't matter and you can get the books for like $30 and they are yours!

    Not looking forward to buying books again! *grumble, grumble*