Heading to college? One of the biggest shocks to the freshman budget always comes in the first week of school. This is the college textbook. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to find the same books for cheaper than they are offered in your college bookstore. Here are a few ways to find textbooks more affordably.
Compare, Compare, Compare
Just like you shouldn’t just buy your textbooks at the school store, you shouldn’t just buy your textbooks off amazon or barns and nobles websites either. Instead, you should compare the prices of textbooks, and a free, easy way to do so is to use bigwords. Say, for example, I want a copy of The People’s History of the United States by Howard Zinn. Searching this title tells me that I can get it for $25 new on amazon, but bigwords finds it for only $9.10 at another website. As you can see, prices can really differ!
Try Finding it for Free
There are a few ways to find books for free online. Google books is one of the most famous, but also try Project Gutenberg. A third source is the Community College Consortium for Open Educational Resources. As it turns out, our People’s History of the United States is available entirely for free on Google books, and you can save the entire purchase price of the book by reading it on your computer.
Look for e-books
If that fails, many books are available cheaper for the kindle, or for the nook. While science textbooks are not likely to be found this way, history or other social science books frequently are. In addition, literature classes that use books that are out of copyright can often be found for free on the kindle. Many of my political science books were written in the 18th century and could be found for free.
If all of these methods fail to find you an affordable book, cut the cost in half by sharing with a friend. Remember, in college, classes generally meet every other day, not every day like they do in high school. This means that if your friend is taking the same class, you can read the textbook on Tuesday, give it to him on Wednesday and he can read it Wednesday, returning the book to you on Thursday for you to read the weekend’s homework. This requires not slacking off as much as many college students tend to do, but with textbooks often running hundreds of dollars, isn’t it worth $100 or more to you to be a little more proactive?