- Posted March 26, 2014 by
How to Buy Cheap Textbooks Online
Buying textbooks for class shouldn't be a painful experience if you know how to buy cheap textbooks online. The average cost of textbooks in the United States for two semesters is $1,110 according to Scholarships.com. Unnecessary textbook expenses occur because of limited options, and many students choose the campus store.
According to the National Association of College Stores, 47 percent of students purchase their course materials at campus stores, and spend an average of $370 on course materials each semester. The NACS asserts that college stores are primarily service driven and "attempt to provide the lowest possible prices for students as opposed to trying to make the largest profit."
The key to cutting the costs of textbooks is to avoid campus stores altogether, and shop online. Shopping online provides a greater range of options for what you can afford. Students will save the most money with eTextbooks, renting, and buying used. Each option has its pros and cons based on affordability and what you need for your class.
With an eTextbook, you don't have to wait for the book to ship, they are easier to navigate than print textbooks, and you don't have to carry them around. However, the disadvantage with most eTextbooks are the limits on the number of pages you can print out.
Renting a textbook is a great option if you know you'll never need the book again, and don't want to worry about selling it back. But, if you dislike dealing with shipping and handling through renting and returning, this may not be the best option for you. Buying a used book will save you the least amount of money, but will be worth the cost if you need the book for future reference.
Sometimes the best way to save money is to not spend it at all, and sometimes professors have no intention of using the required textbook. Purchasing the book would just be a waste of money. These professors usually test by lecture or PowerPoint presentation, not by textbook. In case you cannot return the book, you should decide during the first week of class whether or not you'll be needing one.
First, ask the professor whether you should rely on class lectures or the textbook for studying. Second, study your professors style of teaching, do they frequently refer to the textbook or depend on their own lectures? Third, take detailed notes and record the audio of the lectures; if your professor does refer to the textbook a lot you won't have to.
The total cost of a public four-year in-state college was $18,391 in 2013-14 according to College Board. Cutting costs doesn't mean cutting corners, college is expensive, and textbooks should not be.