If you’re like me, just hearing the word “textbooks” makes you shudder. For incoming freshman and returning students, one of the most nerve-wracking parts of the back-to-school season is buying textbooks. For freshmen, it is often a new phenomenon, and for everyone else, it’s all about not spending too much money. These days, the textbook business can get away with some high prices because they know students will buy the textbooks they need regardless. Despite this, there are still some easy ways to find lower cost books.
Students today have four options: new books, used books, rental books and e-books. Many students fall prey to some professors who often tell students they must buy a book, and then proceed to hardly use it in their class. Students in these situations should wait until their first few days of class to buy their book to make sure they will really need it.
For the best and most cost-effective books, used books are the best way to go. While rental books and e-books seem like the cheapest options, these are only the best options if you know you will not use them after you take the class, or for teachers who demand to have the book in your hand the first day and you don’t have time or money to get anything else. The drawback with rental books, though, is you cannot sell them back.
If you need books instantly, used books at Ned’s Bookstore or the Eastern Michigan University bookstore are the best way to go, unless there are no used books available. In this case, rentals are a good idea, and they are very likely to be available.
For English and literature courses, where novels are often used as textbooks, the best place to go is an actual bookstore, like Barnes & Noble, or a used bookstore. You can get your books online with Kindle, Nook or even at your local library.
If you have time and don’t need your books right away, the Internet is open to your fingertips to buy textbooks. The most popular online site for buying textbooks is Amazon.com. It provides almost every textbook on the market, has competitive prices and you can sell back any book. For the students whosetop priority is saving money, buying books online is their best bet.
But the biggest drawbacks about Amazon are the shipping costs and long delivery time.
Sometimes, the books might not arrive at all, but this is a rare occurrence. Despite this, many students still opt to use it for their textbooks.
Clinical lab science major Lindsay Parsons, a senior, explained, “The main reason I like to order my books online is because the prices are cheaper, even if it does take longer, I save lots of money.”
Some lesser known textbook websites include AbeBooks.com and BookByte.com. These websites offer great buyback prices, which mean if you buy a book, you can receive a lot more money back for them than you would at regular bookstores. Sometimes, selling back books on conventional websites like Amazon can be complicated because they require you to pay for the shipping and packaging.
Another good choice for finding books is BigWords.com. This site is great because it compares prices from different online sources to bring you the cheapest options for any particular book, and if you are looking to sell books, the site also gives you the sources that will give the most money back. BigWords saves its users the time of comparing prices on their own, which is time consuming.
Many students don’t realize how many choices they actually have when it comes to buying textbooks. With so many choices however, it can be difficult to know where to start. In the end, it all really depends on what matters most to you: cost or convenience?