The Text Book Game

The Text Book Game
Christina Zhou

You’re starting college, excited to be embarking on the next big adventure, and…is that flimsy textbook really $500? For many students, the prospect of obtaining the course booklist on the typical college allowance may seem daunting at first. However, the following tips on how to be smart when buying textbooks can help you save a lot of tears and money.

  • Wait and see. Some (cruel) professors will put texts on the course booklist and never end up using them, causing students to waste money by rushing out and buying them immediately. It’s a good idea to wait a couple days to see which books you really need. Also, try asking previous students which books they used.
  • Ask upperclassmen. Speaking of previous students, upperclassmen can also be a great source for cheap textbooks. If you’re lucky, they might even give them to you for free!
  • Buy used, and online. This may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at the number of students who immediately go to the campus bookstore and buy hardcover before looking up the prices of paperback from alternate online sellers. Amazon, eBay, and Chegg are good starting points for your search. However, make sure to check their approval rating before purchasing, as a good price is not worth poor quality.
  • Utilize the library. Schools will sometimes keep a copy or two of popular textbooks in the library. Get there fast before they’re gone, as you are competing with many other students for what is at most a handful of copies.
  • Embrace technology. Print might feel good, but the higher price won’t. Opt for e-books instead, to save on both money and backpack space.
  • Get your money back. Selling your own textbooks after you’re finished with them is a great method to get back some of the initial expense.
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