It’s a standard trope: going to school is dear. There’s tuition, the overpriced cafeteria plan, and the cramped dorm room that prices greater than your mother or father’s mortgage. School prices have outpaced inflation and wages for years, and the prices will be seen in every single place. Particularly in textbook costs.

In accordance with knowledge from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, school textbook costs have elevated greater than 1,000% since 1977. This implies costs for textbooks have outgrown inflation by greater than thrice. Shopping for textbooks is a obligatory evil, however should you plan forward, there are methods to spend much less.

Purchase Them Used

Shopping for used textbooks is an outdated trick and may prevent tons of of a yr. Sadly, most individuals find out about this technique. The bottom line is to begin searching for books as quickly as you get the category ebook listing. You could find used textbooks on-line at websites like or You can too search for books on eBay or

Take the time to match costs on all these websites earlier than shopping for your copy. Be sure that to search for the ISBN quantity as a substitute of the title or creator otherwise you may wind up with a Spanish model of your Econ textbook. When you’re achieved with the books, you may resell them on these websites to earn some a reimbursement.

Shopping for Older Editions

While you get your textbook listing for the following semester, you most likely see the newest version listed. The latest editions are nearly at all times costlier and there are fewer used copies, particularly if the version was launched not too long ago. There are sometimes little to no big variations in these new editions, apart from the worth. A 2019 copy of a textbook will be 10% costlier than a 2009 model.

Right here’s a real-world instance. The fourth version of “Microeconomics” by Paul Krugman and Robin Wells prices $16.99 to hire and $27.49 to purchase from The fifth version of the identical ebook prices $37.49 to hire and $50.99 for a used copy. A brand new copy of the fifth version prices $97.49.

That’s a distinction of $10-$20 or extra for what could possibly be a number of totally different pages. If you need to purchase a dozen books for all of your courses, you would save tons of of by getting an earlier version. Typically web page numbers could also be barely off so you should definitely confirm what chapter or part it’s essential learn for homework. Nonetheless, this small inconvenience could also be price it.

Contact the professor or instructor’s assistant and ask them if you need to get the newest version. Ask your professor what number of books you really need. It’s frequent for a professor to incorporate advised books in your listing that you simply don’t really need for the category. Electronic mail the professor as quickly as potential to seek out out what’s obligatory and what’s elective. I as soon as had a journalism professor who requested us to purchase nearly 10 books for the category, however we solely ever learn a few them.

Renting Textbooks

Renting textbooks is often cheaper than shopping for them used, and also you don’t have to fret about promoting them again on the finish of the yr. That is useful should you’re going to check overseas or reside far-off and hate lugging your heavy books to the campus bookstore.

The one draw back to renting a textbook is that you simply’ll be charged a charge should you return it late, if the ebook is broken or should you unintentionally spotlight a passage. If you happen to lose the ebook, you would additionally face some hefty fines.

Renting might not be potential for each version, and generally is reserved for extra fashionable books. Earlier than renting a textbook, evaluate the ultimate value to a used copy you could find. Then, see how a lot you may get when promoting that used copy. You’ll typically get between 30-50% of what you paid for it, relying on the ebook. The price of renting could outweigh shopping for a used copy.

Sharing with a Good friend

If you happen to’re in the identical class as a superb buddy, contemplate splitting the price of your textbooks with them. This works greatest should you’re in a category with a roommate or somebody in your dorm.

This can be a nice different should you can’t discover a used copy of the ebook, however don’t wish to spend tons of on a brand new copy.

Work out the way you’ll divide up the readings. If it is a particular person you already examine with regularly, you’ll know should you work nicely collectively.

Utilizing E-Books

Some textbooks have e-books which you can purchase or hire. These could also be cheaper than shopping for a brand new model, however you need to nonetheless evaluate costs earlier than buying. You could find ebooks on Amazon or, two of the preferred on-line retailers for digital textbooks.

E-books are useful when you have a pill or e-reader and don’t thoughts not having a bodily copy to mark up. If it’s essential take notes in your ebook, then utilizing e-books will solely harm your research.

Bear in mind to match e-book costs with used copies. Some e-books are costlier as a result of you’ve entry via quite a lot of platforms.

Borrowing them from the Library

Some school libraries hold spare copies of textbooks readily available for college students, however they’re typically restricted and on a first-come, first-serve foundation.

If it’s essential borrow a textbook from the library, put it on maintain as quickly as you may. This methodology works nicely should you solely want the textbook for a brief time frame or should you can copy the pages you want with out spending a fortune on Xerox charges. It could even be cheaper to pay a late charge to maintain the ebook for the entire semester than to purchase your personal copy.

You also needs to test your native metropolis library to see if they’ve any copies. These could also be extra out there than copies out of your faculty’s library.

Zina Kumok (66 Posts)

Zina Kumok is a contract author specializing in private finance. A former reporter, she has lined homicide trials, the Ultimate 4 and the whole lot in between. She has been featured in Lifehacker, DailyWorth and Time. Examine how she paid off $28,000 price of pupil loans in three years at Debt Free After Three.


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