Friday, December 27, 2013

It's That Time Again... Textbook Buying.

It’s that time of year again: Christmas shopping is done and school is looming ever closer, so now it’s time to spend what little hard-earned money you have left on textbooks for winter quarter.

I know, I’m groaning too.

Fortunately, buying textbooks doesn’t have to be as spendy as you might initially think. Here are a few of my tips and tricks for saving money when buying textbooks:

-Don’t buy from the bookstore. It took me my whole freshman year of college to figure this out. The prices are jacked way up for books that aren’t even in that great of condition, and when you try to sell them back at the end of the term/semester, you only receive a fraction of the price you originally paid. What a bummer, right?

-Shop around online and at local bookstores.
Here are some of my favorite websites for ordering textbooks online:
Don’t forget to price check at your local new and used bookstores as well!  

-Make a chart to compare prices. Get out the calculator. Figure out total costs including shipping and see which place has the best price.

I can make charts. How neat is that?
-See if you know anyone interested in trading/buying your book(s). Sometimes you can even find student-created Facebook pages specifically for connecting students who want an alternatives to the campus bookstore.

-Consider renting textbooks or buying e-book versions. I personally don't use either of these options because I like to have physical copies I can write in, but both are always good options if you're strapped for cash. 

A few other things to keep in mind…

*Do pay attention to seller ratings online. Is a couple more cents that big of a deal, when a particular seller has a more reputable rating? There’ve been a few times when books never reached me (I’m looking at you,…) and I was unable to get my money back, so I’m especially conscious of seller ratings now when I’m ordering books online.

*Keep your eyes out for coupon codes in your email, and if you have any trade-in credit… use it! I was able to get my Chicago Manual of Style with practically free shipping because I had about three bucks of Amazon trade-in credit left. Score!

$3.30? We've got a big saver over here! 
Note: I really wish I didn’t have to use Amazon (I know I’ve voiced my opinion regarding Amazon on here before), but part of being a frugal student is that you can’t be picky. If I’d ordered the CMS from anywhere else, I would have paid an extra 20+ dollars. That 20 bucks I saved by ordering from Amazon can now be put to paying, say, a utility bill. I don’t like ordering from Amazon, but for now I don’t have much of any other choice.  

*Bonus tip: sometimes the books you bought online can be sold back to the bookstore at the end of the quarter/semester! Last year I bought two Norton Anthologies online for about 15 bucks each, and at the end of the quarter was able to sell them back to the bookstore for 25 bucks each! Awh yeah.

What are your personal tips for textbook buying?

1 comment:

  1. One of my all-time favorite textbook tricks actually allows me to MAKE money on them. I'll purchase them from an online distributer and then sell them back to campus bookstore. Often times the bookstore will pay more at the end of the quarter than I purchased it for at the beginning! It takes the entire quarter, but I eventually leave with more money in my wallet! Take that bookstore!


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