Textbooks are ridiculously expensive. And frankly, professors insisting on students buying brand new textbooks for each of their classes every year is ludicrous. We've created a guide to help you navigate the ins and outs of buying textbooks. If you have to do it, do it right.
1. Use Amazon
We'll start with the obvious one. If you can help it, never buy new textbooks from your university bookstore. They are crazy expensive, and you'll have to lug them all home. Amazon has great deals on textbooks and has a specific page for university students. However, be sure to order in advance as if the book you need is on backorder, delivery can take up to one month.
2. Check student classifieds/join Facebook pages
Before paying full price for a textbook, it's a good idea to look for used copies. If your university has a classifieds page, it's best to look there. However, another great resource is Facebook. Often universities, or faculties/departments of universities, have textbook swap groups. Try a quick search for something like this. If nothing comes up, you could try joining the Facebook group for the department your course is in, and post that you are looking for a specific textbook.
3. Order them online from your university bookstore
Once you decide you have to get them from your university bookstore, see if there's an option to order them online. They might not deliver, but even if you have to pick your books up in store, it saves you the hassle of standing in line for hours (yes, hours) amidst the start-of-the-year rush.
4. Buy them as you need them
Another tip is to only buy the textbooks as you need them. For example, if your professor hasn't assigned one of your books until later in the course, don't buy it during the first weeks of classes. Oftentimes students buy books and then realize they don't really need them. Either the information in them isn't helpful or they've found another way (a friend, or the library) to read the pages they need. Buying them as you go may save you money in the long run.
5. Try downloading your textbooks
While I don't condone illegal activity, it is worth noting that sometimes major textbooks or novels are available on various torrenting websites. If you don't have any issues reading off of a computer screen, downloading the book you need is a great (and free) option.
6. Don't buy them
Another free option! I know this post is about buying textbooks, but I want to emphasize that just because your professor suggests that you buy the textbook or insists that you must have the latest edition, does not mean you have to listen to them. All course books should be available at the library, and while you might be worried by the fact that there are limited copies, you would be surprised how few students actually take books out of the library. This means the book you need is likely to be on the shelf when you need it. Plus, going to the library gives you incentive to study there which leads to higher productivity than studying at home!