Three simple tips for buying books this semester

College comes with many expenses. There is money due for tuition, classes, parking passes and most of all the dreaded expensive costs of books. Books are a necessity, but also a nuisance. My freshman year of college the cost for all of my books in the first semester alone was $350.

Not only was my bank account suffering, but I was also very displeased to find out that only one of my classes used the book the professor badgered me to buy. So before you read what tips that I have, be sure to know whether or not a book is required for your class.

The first thing to consider when book hunting is whether you want to rent or buy a book. When considering to buy a book think about how useful it will be for other classes in your major. Don’t rule out a book just because it isn’t for your class. Sometimes an old book can come in handy when you need to refresh your mind on old information.

If you are a renter like me, then you need to understand that even though the price of renting is cheap, it can become costly. You many get charged if you do any damage to the book or miss your return date. So my advice is to be careful with how you treat your books and remember your return date like it’s your birth date.

Tip #1: Avoid Bookstores

There are many places that offer deals – or at least claim that they do – on books. The first place students tend to look is their school’s bookstore. Bookstores like to pitch prices to you as if they are doing you a favor by giving you 2% off on a $150 book. Really, they aren’t giving you a deal. I recommend that this is the last place to look.

Good places to look for books to buy or rent are local shops like Ned’s Book Store on 707 W. Cross Street. This store might not save you a ton of money, but their books are $15 to $35 cheaper than the campus bookstore. If you’re interested in shopping here for books make sure to go there as soon as possible for first dibs on books. Places like this tend to sell out fast because of great deals and coupon offers.

Tip #2: Check the Library

It’s also a good idea to check the library. Some books are available in the library for easy access. The only disadvantage about this is that for a class there is only one book reserved and you will not be allowed to check the book out to use at home. Also, be careful to assume no one will be needing to look at this book as much as you do. Be sure to call the library and reserve the book for a time when you are available.

Tip #3: Shop Online

Last but not least, check the internet. For all of the internet shopaholics you know how to find a good deal more than anyone. There are websites such as Amazon, Chegg, eCampus and Cheapest that offers cheap deals on books that will save you a lot of money. This is a good option but be mindful of ordering your school books online too late. Depending on where the book is shipping from it can take three to five days to ship off to your campus. If you can, email your professor about what books you’ll need for class.

Once you figure out how you want to buy or rent your books, you are set to go for the school year.

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