6 Ways to Fight Textbook Costs

By Victoria Robertson on October 11, 2019

One of the largest issues facing college students nowadays are costs, and that’s not just considering the university they are attending. The additional cost that adds up by the end of the year is the cost of textbooks.

Whether an English major looking at a wide variety of novels or a history major that’s looking at massive textbooks that they need for their coursework, the cost of textbooks is far higher than many realize prior to attending the university of their choice.

For this reason, in an effort to assist you in decreasing some of these costs, here are six methods you can use to fight textbook costs.

Photo Via: Pixabay.com

1. Buy Used

Many students immediately opt to purchase the newest book they can, without really paying attention to the price. While used books are not always significantly cheaper, they can save you quite a bit of money and help you avoid buying the brand new, high-cost books.

In addition, most used books are actually in great shape, so they are hardly even used. While you’ll want to take a look at the books and see their condition for yourself, this is a great alternative to buying the brand new textbooks at a higher cost, in most cases.

2. Don’t Buy on Campus

If you are shopping for textbooks on campus, you are likely paying more than the books are actually worth. While this isn’t always the case, it’s a consideration you should certainly keep in mind.

For this reason, it’s better to look at outside booksellers to get a better feel for what the right cost for you is. Many individuals look at Chegg, Amazon and other, similar retailers for books, which typically ends up saving them a large amount of money.

While you won’t be able to purchase every book off-campus, this is a great way to save money on the books that you are able to.

3. Shop Around

Similarly to the above point, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket, so to speak. Rather than taking a look at one or two bookstores and purchasing the first option you see, you should be comparing prices to find yourself the best deal.

Yes, this is a tedious effort. However, shopping around allows you to compare all of the prices and get the best deal on the textbooks you need, an effort that just might end up saving you a small fortune.

The best method for comparing prices is to do so online, but you should also take a look at bookstores in person for items that you still feel are priced a bit too high.

4. Share

It may be rare, but there are going to be occasions in which you and a friend or roommate are taking the same classes. In these instances, it’s smart to split the cost of the textbook and share it. Granted, this is not always going to work. For instance, if you need a novel, it might be inconvenient to share, as you may want to read at the same time.

However, if you’re able to make this method work for you, you are both going to save a large sum of money that you can use elsewhere.

5. Check the Library

The most cost-effective option on this list, by visiting the library, you can check out the book you need for free. Again, there are a few caveats to this option. For one, you likely won’t be able to pick up any larger textbooks. In addition, you may try to check out a book that’s in high demand, which means that the library may be out of that text.

However, if you get ahead of the game and check out the library earlier than the rest, you’ll be able to save yourself a bit of money.

6. Make Sure They’re Necessary

Last, but probably most importantly, you’ll want to attend your first day of lectures to determine whether or not your texts are actually necessary to complete the course you are in.

Does your professor list the text as optional? Then don’t buy it. Do they say you will “tentatively” read this text? Hold off on purchasing it. There are a lot of professors that will put a text on the syllabus and then discard the idea after realizing the amount of content you already need to get through, so if you’re able to, holding off on purchasing your texts might just save you from unnecessary spending.

Again, paying for textbooks is never an easy task, especially as the cost largely drives up the already high cost of attending college. The truth is: textbooks are expensive.

The above six suggestions are a great starting point for significantly decreasing the cost of textbooks, but make sure to research alternative methods of purchasing your textbooks to avoid paying more than you’re willing (or able) to.

Happy shopping everyone!

Victoria is a dedicated writer who graduated from the University of Illinois with a Bachelor of Arts in English. She currently writes freelance pieces for various sites and works in Marketing for Myndbee Inc., promoting their current mobile app, Picpal.

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