Buying College Textbooks

Finding an affordable college textbook is becoming increasingly difficult due to soaring prices. There are some textbooks being sold for $200+ dollars. If you’re a student struggling to pay for tuition, the thought of dropping that kind of coin on just one textbook can be excruciating (especially to your bank account). This is why researching various book stores and websites is extremely important and focusing your search on used textbooks.

Buying college textbooks used is much more cost-effective than going the “brand new” route. For one, most used textbooks are in really good condition with very little wear and tear. I want to dispel the notion that used equates to poor quality because it’s simply not true. Therefore, I suggest only buying new textbooks as a last resort. If you’ve searched high and low, but still cannot find a used version then -and only then–should you buy new.

A major challenge to buying a used college textbook is the variation in price. Used bookstores can charge different prices for the same book since they each have varying grading scales for the condition quality of the book. This is where your researching skills must come in to play. You need to scour the internet in addition to traveling to the used bookstores in and around your respective area. Compare and contrast prices in relation to the condition quality of the used books offered.

An essential aspect of buying college textbooks is time. If you plan to do copious research and potentially order books via online, you must allow yourself enough time to obtain the book before your first class. In this endeavor, I suggest contacting your professors either through e-mail or phone a month before class begins in order to get textbook information. Most professors are more than happy to provide the author name, edition, and even the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) to aid in your search.

 I have seen many students walk into class with the 3rd edition of a textbook and the teacher proclaims that we must use the 4th edition. This is why contacting the professor before class begins is so important. Make sure you know the specific edition so to avoid this folly.

A simple piece of information that can really help you in your used college textbook search is the ISBN. Most used textbook stores and websites feature a search tool asking for this number. If you have it, the search can be performed much quicker and offer more options for you to choose from.

This may seem like a simple piece of info, but it too can ease your search for the right college textbook. And you’d be amazed by how many students walk into a bookstore with only the book name to guide them. I promise you, having the author name will provide a much more productive and expeditious book search.

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