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Your Future Self Will Thank You: 5 Best Ways to Save Money on College Books

save money on college books

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With the rising tyranny of student loan debt that is clutching whole of America in its jaws, the call of saving money on college books gains more importance than ever. America owes 1.5 Trillion of student loan debt in total and that’s more than unsettling.

An American student owes an average debt of $30000 and the situation is worsening by the day. Only if the Department of Education had not appointed loan servicers who exploited the situation to their advantage, things would have been better. Only if…

A lot has been said and talked about the student loan debt crisis and lack of foresight on the part of Department of Education and the malicious intent of the loan servicers have been blamed. The current situation urges all of us to find out ways by which students can lower their expenses whilst pursuing their graduation.

You may also like: You can Make Money Buying and Selling Books. Here’s How to Do It

This conservative approach would not only help students in borrowing less but also put them at a relatively smaller disadvantage (reduced student loan debt) when they start earning. This way it will be easier for them to fight off the debt which otherwise could reach the insurmountable levels.

The College Board reports that between course materials and textbooks, students can expect to spend between $1,240-$1,440 for the 2018-2019 academic year[1].

Even though the e-market for the discounted market has evolved tremendously over the last few years, the average cost of college textbooks has risen quadruple times the average inflation rate over the last decade. This has led students to stop buying college books at some point or other because of budgetary constraints.

The main reason behind all this is that textbooks these days are coupled up with access codes that expire every year. These access codes compel students to buy books at retail prices from the campus.

This is mostly because all of the material that a student would require to participate in class is put in an electronic forum that you can access through a unique log-in code which expires every semester.

Students were able to sell the used textbooks in the past at a decent price, but because the access code expires and it renders the book worthless, the used books are now being sold for peanuts. The expired access codes also mean that you cannot have access to course material in the future.

Here’s how you can save money on college book:-

1. Buy and Sell used books online

Buy old books

Students have been buying old books for ages and it makes a lot of sense. Most of the used books are in good condition and most of the important text is often highlighted by the previous readers. Picking up a book from the campus bookstore is very convenient and you get the access codes as well.

The access code would give you access to the assignments, notes and presentations which can be coordinated with your classmates or your batchmate in the dorm floor. However, the basic curriculum and syllabus remain the same from year to year. Thus, old books will serve the purpose (for the most part at least).

The easiest way to shop online is to use ISBN numbers. This will help you in fetching the same version as your college professor is using.  The question ‘How to save on college books’ will not look so difficult after you start reading old books.

Sell your college books

We understand the emotional value attached to the old books.  There is a sense of nostalgia, the subtle fragrance of the off white pages reminds you of the good times that you have cherished with your peers. This makes your books so special that you kind of detest selling them off.

However, True wisdom lies in sharing. Besides, you can help the needy by selling off your old books so that they could purchase it second-hand and at a cheaper price than retail prices.

Remember the good that you send the opposite way is always reciprocated by the Universe. If you can make a small contribution to someone’s life by selling used books at an affordable price, good things will come your way for sure.

Here are some of the top online merchants that will help in buying and selling your college books.

2. Hustle WITHOUT a book

Even if you are a regular to the class, you can still hustle around without buying a book. HOW’s THAT POSSIBLE? Well, truth be told, this isn’t a universally true statement.

As a matter of fact, it depends on your major. You wouldn’t find a good compilation of information on biotech online, at least not as organized as you would get in your college textbook.

But if your major is in Sociology or Psychology, chances are high that most part of your curriculum would be in public domain through academia.edu and other portals which allow students to share their research papers and dissertations.

Look at the syllabus to see what all is covered under what heads. Check the same titles for online availability in the form of white papers. If the syllabus covers philosophical textbooks or poetry, you will find it easily on the internet on various platforms.

You might also be able to download the books to your Kindle through Wal-Mart’s library.

You can also Google the text to see if there are any PDFs around with no rights reserved, but you may or may not have any luck. 

3. Share with your roomie

If your college has a campus program or if you live in a hostel with your classmates, you could take the bro code or sis code to the next level by splitting up the expenditure on books. This might sound chaotic, however, if you plan your study schedules in coordination so that you and your friend have the access to book as and when you need, it can work wonders.

If your professor is fussy and insists that every student carries his or her own book, then it is next to impossible to share textbooks. However, if your professor uses the texts to supplement his lectures then sharing a book with your bestie might be a good idea.

4. Foray into the territory less traveled to – LIBRARY

While your college library may not have every single textbook that you may require, it still is a hidden treasury of books from various disciplines. It is likely to have a vast collection of books for liberal arts and humanities.

Yet another effective way to save money on college books is to get them Xeroxed. If you fear to get the book Xeroxed, then you have to shred off the inhibitions that you will be held liable for the violation of Intellectual Property Rights. Unless you are not distributing the copies to others or not making any economical gains from the copy, you won’t be held liable for infringement.

5. Why own a book? Rent it Instead

If the success cannot be owned and the rent is due every day, so, why own a book? Renting a book is the new ‘In’ these days (can you feel me punk?). Rentals are popular for expensive books and your campus bookstore or the one down the street might rent out a book to you on certain conditions.

Firstly, you will have to pay the money equivalent to the retail price, so that in case you default on returning, the shop keeper does not lose money. Secondly, you will have to take extra care of the books as any damage done would account for the loss of potential money while returning the book and receiving the collateral money.

You also have to assess how frequently the new editions of the books are being launched and whether or not a new edition would be available at the time of returning the book.

It’s generally a good idea to buy textbooks once you get into the upper-level course of your major because you will be needing them in the future. You have to figure which books you will be needing over the long haul and which books will be like one semester wonders.

This way, you will be able to save money on college books – quite a lot of money.

[1] https://www.edmit.me/blog/how-much-does-the-average-college-student-spend-on-textbooks


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