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It's a popular joke among college kids that books cost an unbelievably high amount and are bought back for pennies on the pound. No matter how you look at it, books are expensive.
The good news is that there are ways to significantly cut down the costs. There are plenty of places, especially online, to find discount textbooks. Below we'll break down just a few of these places:
Take it from someone who has tried this before. One of the best ways to save on textbooks is to study in the library or bookstore itself. You can get the information you need without having to pay for the book.
Plus, bookstores and libraries being the quiet, secluded places that they are, studying should be that much easier.
As with all plans, there is a potential downside to this. The first is that the library may not stock the book you're looking for. Occasionally, teachers will require a rare book which you'll have to buy, and there may not be any way around that.
Also, every day that book stays in the library or store is another chance that it might be checked out or purchased by somebody else.
Project Gutenberg is a website that stores thousands of digital books in its database. Visitors can read the books online for free. Not only that, but the books don't require a download, so you don't have to worry about your computer being affected by something hidden in the file.
Bartleby.com warrants mentioning on this list. Not only does this have a small database of discount textbooks to compare prices, but for less money per month than a Netflix account, it also offers homework help.
The downside to Bartleby is that it focuses on math and the sciences, so if you're majoring in any other subject, Bartleby is not for you. Also, their selection of textbooks appears to be somewhat limited, so they may not have the textbook you need.
The homework help is a great feature, but it's mostly for people who don't have immediate access to a tutor.
When given the option, it's always best to buy used. Used books are cheaper because their current owners no longer need them and are attempting to sell them back, often for pennies on the dollar.
The best places to find used textbooks are online, where several websites such as half.com, chegg.com, AbeBooks.com, and several others have a database that compares prices.
Renting textbooks is far cheaper, and more convenient, than buying them. The prices are notably discounted and you don't have the issue of trying to sell them back when the semester ends.
One major downside to this is that many textbook rentals are done online. This means that when your rental period is up, you have to mail it back. Mailing things can be a hassle.
If you don't have your textbooks for the semester, one possible solution is to ask a classmate to photocopy the chapters you need to read for class. This is a great way to save money while still keeping up with the readings.
Some colleges have printing budgets, meaning that you can only print so many free pages in a semester. That's a lot to ask another student, so if you have to, talk to the professor. Chances are they'll be glad to help get what you need for class.
After all, they are teachers and your performance in class reflects on them. However, even if they are willing to copy and print off the reading material for you, there's always the risk of too much or too little ink. This can obscure writing and make the document hard to read.
This may seem like a dumb answer, but sometimes luck really does play into it. In particular, if you've found yourself drawn to the social sciences and liberal arts.
More often than not, you will find yourself reading novels, biographies, poems, packets and the like. When it comes to subjects like history and literature, there's only so much good a textbook can do you at the college level.
On most textbook websites, like Half or Chegg, novels rarely cost more than ten dollars, which pales in comparison to a math or science textbook.
On the subject of packets and handouts, one way to help save money, though perhaps not as much, is to read online. You'll find that it's much easier to organize, and saves money on printing, if you read any e-mailed materials online instead of printing them off.
Reading along with the class may be an issue, but many schools permit you to bring a laptop to class if you didn't print off your materials.
If worse comes to worst, you can try to borrow a textbook from a classmate. This way is quick and cheap, but it can be risky. It all revolves around the other person getting their work done early or waiting to do it.
It also hinges on that work not taking too long. Sure, many college kids do it, but most of us don't want to be awake until three in the morning catching up on reading.
There are a lot of places to get free or discount textbooks. We've listed just a few ideas above, but there are plenty of others out there, so feel free to look around.
If you want to know where to get great coupons and discounts online, please visit our site. We can give you a rundown on how the process works. We're happy to answer any questions, although you might want to check our FAQ page to see if somebody else has asked the same question.