Monday, September 29, 2008

A smart shopper's guide to purchasing text books.


If you’re like me, then you know what its like to fork over hundreds of dollars just for text books. Although financial aid might be covering some of your book expenses, there is no reason why you should pay so much for books you will have only for a semester. Buying books at book store price and selling them back for flea market price is something that disappoints college students. In order to get a good deal on your text book, as well as sell them back for more than store book price, you have to shop smart.

The first tip is to do your homework early. What I mean by this is find out what textbook you will have to buy.

The next tip is to search for your textbooks. What I suggest doing first is going to your university book store and writing down the ISBN numbers of your book. This is the bar code number on the back of your book. Sometimes the bookstore will cover it up. You can also find the bar code on inside of the first page. Write down the list of isbn numbers and the cost of the books. You will need your isbn numbers when searching for books and comparing prices. This number identifies the exact book. Most numbers have 8 or 10 numbers.

Once you have your barcode, you will need to find the best deals on textbooks. There are several ways to do this.

  • Look for textbooks on ebay or Make a wish list if you have to
  • See if other people at your university have the books you need. Many of them will offer a fairer price than the book store. If you’re part of a social networking site, such as facebook and myspace, you can join groups where people are selling their textbooks at your school.
  • Contact your professor and ask whether the textbooks are needed. You will be very surprised that you will buy textbooks only to use them a few times during the semester. If that is the case, it might help to borrow from a friend or make a copy of certain pages when needed.
  • You might also want to contact your professor and ask if using the previous version of a textbook is o.k. I’ve used previous versions of textbooks for a few classes, and there is no difference between the new version and the old version.

  • I highly recommend buying the international editions of your text. International editions are significantly cheaper than the U.S. editions. The abe textbook website has a way to search for textbooks. For general courses like math or science, you'd probably have better luck finding an international edition.

Using these tips will help you immensely. Conversely, selling books through other methods will make you more money. Many times, if you sell your books back at the book store, you’ll make far less than what you paid. I recommend selling books online and with your friends. The following links are a just a few places where you can start your textbook search.

Book Finder

Campus Books

Cheap Text Books (Valore)

Abe Books

Campus Books for Less


1 comment

Evan said...

I allways search online for my textbooks. Only real way to get the best prices you can. With sites like there is no reason way kids should complain about prices for books! gotta do the searching your self ya know!!!



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Kavita (luvikavi)
I am a 25 year old loud mouth by my words yet soft spoken at heart. I have love affairs with new thoughts, ideas, controversies, movies, news,helping those in need and politics. If something tickles my fancy, I will blog profusely about it. The world is filled with nonsense, and writing helps me grasp the reality, whatever that may be.
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