Yep, it’s that time of the year again when school is not yet in action, but your bank account is. Buying books for the semester is always a pain — either stressful for those who break their wallets to get them or stressful for those who need them but can’t afford it. However, most of us want to pass our classes so we make an effort to actually purchase the required textbooks for the course.
Most classes, especially at Georgia State, like to have specialty books written or co-authored by the professor, which dramatically increases the prices even online and at the University Bookstore. Some intro classes require the fancy shrink-wrapped textbooks that include an online passcode for extra activities you’ll probably never use. These are horrible because they’re non-refundable after you’ve opened the shrink-wrap and they’re expensive. Other courses might have the same textbook for five semesters straight, which you can usually get by asking around for students who want to sell their used copy. Nonetheless, as the books stack up so does the cost, and it’s no fun to be broke during Spring Break because you’re still paying credit card bills for your textbooks.
One way to make book hunting a little easier is to start with online discount textbook services like Chegg, CollegeBookRenter, Amazon or Textbooks.com. This seems to work for me. I look up my books on Cheapesttextbooks.com, a website that searches the cheapest online price for your textbook, and then I choose to rent or buy based on the prices. Be sure to look up the edition of the textbook for your course. If it’s a newer version ask your professor if an older edition will be suitable for the class — these are usually cheaper to rent or buy. Choosing whether to rent or buy is a tricky decision too. Renting is typically cheaper, but it’s best to check if you’ll need the same textbook for another level of the course. If so, it’s better to buy so that you’re paying once instead of twice.
Last tip: Always try to sell your books back if you won’t need them for another course, and be sure to keep up with which websites you rent and buy from so when it’s time to return them you’ll have everything in order.
Now, certain books may just be expensive and you’ll find yourself out of luck, but if you can, use these prompts to help cut back on textbook debt and relieve some financial stress.