If you have gone browsing in your college bookstore, you may have had an aneurism when you saw the price tag on your required textbooks.
Although it can be convenient to just pull out your plastic and walk out with your books in hand, for those of you who have to choose between textbooks or eating, there are options that allow you to do both.
Before buying everything on your book list, check out what you really need. Some professors might use printed handouts or online readings, making the listed textbook redundant. Some may plan to use only a few chapters from the listed text. In that case, you may want to look at iChapters.com, where you can purchase only the chapters you need to read as an e-Book.
Here’s the latest scoop: Amazon.com just announced the launch of Kindle Textbook Rental, claiming that students can save up to 80% off textbook list prices by renting the e-book from the Kindle Store. Tens of thousands of textbooks are now available.
If you haven’t yet converted to electronic reading, here are some great sources for the old-fashioned- paper-page-turning-kind-of-books your grandparents used to use. Compare their prices and services (some will buy the books back too) and start saving!
Textbookrevolution.org is a student-run website promoting the use of free educational materials. The site has links to many materials, with some complete books available for free as PDF files or e-books. For materials not available for free, there are links to cheap sources.
DirectTextBook.com searches lots of online bookstores and gives you options to compare.
Chegg.com promotes its textbook rental service, claiming to plant a tree for every textbook that is rented through their service.
CampusBooks.com is a good place to buy, rent or download your books. They also gather discount coupons for lots of other sites so you don’t have to go searching all over the web for them.
Bigwords.com is another website that searches the web for good textbook deals.
And don’t forget these wonderful sources of free knowledge:
- Internet Public Library
- Google Scholar
- Online Mathematics Textbooks
- Project Gutenburg
- Wikibooks OpenSource Textbooks
If you like to actually flip the pages before you buy, many school communities have locally owned off-campus bookstores nearby, where many good deals can be found. They also frequently buy back your books when you’re finished with them.
Hopefully these tips will help you get smarter without going hungry. Feel free to post comments about your textbook sticker shock and how you were able to avoid it.
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