While university is supposed to be a gateway into a brighter and more lucrative future, the unfortunate fact is that all the costs attributed to post-secondary education can be financially crippling. If you’re considering attending college or university, it’s important that you consider just how much of an impact it will have on your bank account. Aside from your tuition, one of the largest costs you can incur may be that of your textbooks. Fortunately, when it comes to textbooks there are several things you can do to get them for less than what they would originally cost.
Find out What Your Courses Are as Early as Possible
In order to avoid the high prices of textbooks, it’s recommended that you find out what your courses are as early as you possibly can. Once you’ve got the courses figured out, try to learn what textbooks will be needed. Often, professors will post a required reading list on the college or university website, on their office door, or on the door or billboard of the classroom associated with the class. Make sure you write down all the relevant information about the textbooks, including the author name, the volume or edition, and the ISBN. From there you can visit the campus bookstore if possible, where you should locate the books you’ll need and take a record of their prices.
Visit the Library
There’s an even better alternative to cheap textbooks—being able to check them out for free by visiting the library. While it’s not certain you’ll find all the books you want at the library, you may be surprised to find that some of what you need is there. Armed with the information you wrote down earlier, you can search through the library catalogs or approach the librarians to see if any of the textbooks you need are available. Some libraries may allow you to check out books for the entire semester; otherwise, you may have to keep checking them out or pay a fee for an extended check out time. The fee will be substantially less than what you would pay for brand new books.
Some libraries may also have textbooks available for small periods of time, several hours at the most. This means that come time for exams, midterms, or finals, they’ll likely be impossible to get to. If you start planning early enough, you can reserve checkouts for those times, ensuring you’ll be able to study up when you need to.
Another good alternative to buying textbooks brand new is to shop online for cheaper options. Depending on where you look, you’ll have the ability to buy or even rent certain books. Some textbooks, even if they’re new, can be considerably cheaper online than they are in a brick and mortar store. The option to rent a textbook from an online store might be best avenue for you to consider if you’re really strapped for money. Rental periods will often cover the duration of a semester or more, and the prices can be highly reasonable. By buying or renting online, you can save yourself a considerable amount of money that can instead be put towards other important post-secondary costs, like tuition, bills, or room and board.