College Textbooks: Make Sure You Need the Book Before You Buy

If you are a lucky college student, you can not only save a ton of money by being able to buy all your college textbooks used from your college bookstore, you can be lucky enough to have the textbooks not even be required by your professor. Sure, your class code says that there is a required textbook for the class that you are taking, but guess what? Often, professors don't use the textbook for their classrooms at all, opting for online classroom aids and tutorship instead. So, if you want to make sure you are getting the most out of your financial aid (or money out of your own pocket) for textbooks come class-time, follow these simple tips to save money.

First of all, some classes that you have to take require the same textbook as a class you have already taken. Before you sell last semester's books back to the school or give them to another student, make sure that the classes you are taking this semester won't be using those same books again. When I went to buy my Macroeconomics book this semester, guess what? It was the exact same book I used for Microeconomics last semester! My instructor verified that the same book would be used for this semester, which saved me the $254 the book originally cost me. That's a ton better than the $47 I would have made selling the book back, and damn good thing I didn't sell my book online over the summer like I had planned!

A week before school starts, professors usually start emailing their students telling them what books and supplies they need. When reading your syllabus, pay attention. I caught that my math class didn't require the hard copy of the book, since we were using an online course to study in and the lessons are available online. Often, textbooks are optional for class, thanks to the internet. To find out if the textbooks listed as required for the class are actually needed, email your professor and find out before you buy your books for class. Knowing I didn't need the textbook for math this semester saved me $72- all I had to buy was my student access card.

Oh, and when you are buying your books for class, ask when the college does their buyback program- this is when they buy back your college books for far more than you would be able to sell them wholesale (which you can do in your college bookstore any time of year so long as the book is still in use). For example, I sold back my $67 English book from last semester for a measly $10 because I didn't want to wait for the buyback. But the buyback would have given me half of what I paid for my book. Don't buy into the wholesale crap- it won't get you any real cash.

note: you can especially save some dough on college textbooks if you have any online classes- most online classes have an online course that is used instead of a textbook, which means an access card is really all you need. The textbooks are usually just references and optional if you want them.


personal experience buying books this year for college and saving lots of money

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