Saving Money on Textbooks Without Crippling Yourself

Education might be priceless, but the means you use to attain it aren’t. Perhaps the most expensive part of any stage, from primary school to the university, are textbooks. Though essential for learning, they often carry exorbitant prices, especially when it comes to specialized publications from established authors and publishing houses. Luckily, there are numerous ways in which you can acquire them without punching a hole through your pockets, or several.

New Books Aren’t Inherently Better Than Used

While there are certain advantages to buying completely new books (after all, who doesn’t love the smell of a freshly printed book?), paying full price for them is usually a waste of money. You can usually obtain a good quality used book for a fraction of the price. If you feel you need to have a brand new textbook, then make sure to shop around for them. Many retailers offer discounts, especially when you buy books online. You should generally avoid campus bookstores, as they tend to charge full price for their books. It’s a good way to burn through your money.

So, You Want an Used Book

Of course, finding an used textbook is easier said than done. The biggest problem is quality. While with brand new books you are certain that you have a high quality book, this is not always the case with used ones. The general rule is to use reputable retailers for this purpose. Many online services offer used and refurbished books for sale. If you want really cheap textbooks, make sure to check out the local ad boards. Many graduating students seek to recoup their losses by selling old textbooks. Make sure to inspect them in person before you buy them. Pay close attention to missing pages, writing inside the book, and supplements. A language coursebook will be much less useful without the listening exercises that come on a CD inside the book.

Renting is Also an Option

Another way to save money on textbooks is to simply rent them. Some colleges offer such rentals, on top of several private companies devoted to this particular option. An interesting alternative to physical copies of books are digital rentals. In this case, you gain access to an online copy of the textbook you want or receive a copy-protected PDF to use on your mobile device. Make sure to check which method is offered by the rental company first, especially when you want to go digital.

Sell Them, Sell Them All

Usually, the best way to save money on textbooks is to get it back. Especially important when you bought your books at full price, selling them is a good way to get at least some money back. In this situation, the roles are reversed. If you plan on selling your books, make sure that they are in a very good condition. Basically, don’t do anything to them you wouldn’t want to see in your own textbook. Of course, if you’re not too interested in money, consider donating them to your school, especially if they operate a rental program. That way you’ll help other students gain access to low cost learning materials.

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