Things You Need For College: Textbooks

High school students take having free books for granted. Most incoming college freshmen are in for a big shock when they see the price of their new calculus book. Things you need for college: textbooks. One hundred fifty dollars ($150) for one book is a lot to swallow, not to mention the $30 lab manual that comes with it. Oh, and did you forget the $15 CD too? Buying textbooks is very, very expensive. On average, buying books from the college bookstore, you can expect to pay anywhere from $500-$600. So, you’re looking at spending nearly $1,000 for books the whole year when getting ready for college. In this article, I am going to discuss some of the unconventional means of acquiring your books for the semester.

Things you need for college: Textbooks

Nearly all incoming students, look up their book lists online a week before class starts, then later buy their books from the university bookstore.

On-Campus Bookstore

University bookstores (or bookstores on campus) have the highest mark-ups of all textbook stores. Don’t fall into the trap of buying your books from them. The only time I recommend buying your books from the university bookstore, is when they are the only supplier. For instance, if your professor wrote his own book and you can only buy it through the school.

Things You Need For College

Off-Campus Bookstore

The next best method of buying books is from a bookstore off-campus. But, even here you will still pay hundreds of dollars for books you probably won’t read. Off-campus bookstores are generally smaller and don’t have the book selection found at the university bookstore. If you are buying off-campus, be sure to pick up your books early, because they will probably run out.

Online Bookstore

In my opinion, the best method of buying books is done online. You cannot beat the online prices. If you are new to college, and unfamiliar with sites that sell textbooks, please visit Amazon,, and Ebay. These are excellent places to find new and used textbooks. Most professors post their required textbooks online a few weeks before the semester starts. This is the perfect time to search Amazon for your books. You have to look early because shipping can take anywhere from a few days to two weeks. If you can wait out the shipping time, buying online is the best option. I turned to online buying after my freshman year. It was the best money saving method I used all through college. You turn $500 semester book fees into a mere $350 (or less). It’s amazing how so few students are actually buying online to getting ready for college. These companies are 100% safe. There is no reason not to buy online.

Amazon Textbooks:

Getting ready for college

Now, I will go through some of the pros and cons of buying books from our three different means.

On-campus Bookstore
Pro: prime location
Pro: save time
Pro: get the exact editions you need
Pro: offer new and used books
Pro: offer buy back plans
Con: too expensive
Con: you get like $10 buy back for a $100 book
Con: not as many used copies

Off-campus Bookstore
Pro: less expensive
Pro: lots of used books
Pro: offer buy backs
Con: may have older editions
Con: not located nearby (unless you live off campus)
Con: small selections

Online Bookstore
Pro: cheapest books anywhere
Pro: get exactly the book you need
Pro: buy anytime
Con: have to wait 1-2 weeks for delivery

Buy College Textbooks Online:

Some other tips on how to save money when it comes to buying books
Tip 1. Share a book with a friend
Tip 2. Always buy used
Tip 3. Look if the book is in e-book form
Tip 4. Swap books with other students

Things You Need For College: Textbooks
If you are going to get anything out of this article, the most important point being made is to be smart with your money. Buy your books online. It is by far the cheapest method. You can buy previous editions of the book you need for a fraction of the price. Editions don’t change from year to year. Buying edition 4 instead of 5 will not make a difference. This is based on my experiences, the pages numbers and writing will be exactly the same. They update editions every year or two and expect us to buy them for $150.

Sell Back Your Textbook:

Also, please be cautious when buying books from a bookstore on or near campus when getting ready for college. They will tell you “Bring you book back at the end of the year and you will get CASH!” They make up gimmicks that put a picture of you stuffing wads of twenties in your wallet. What they don’t tell you is that they don’t always buy books back. I would say 75% of the time you will wait in the buy back line and they will say “I’m sorry, we aren’t buying that book back.” If this does happen to you I suggest you create an Amazon account and sell your book online. I’ve done it, and it works.

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Author's Bio: 

Christine Reidhead is an avid seeker of knowledge and zealous humanitarian who shares an incredible passion for the art of serving the community. Serving as an advocate of education, she aims to enlighten the lives of underserved communities. Christine wants to ignite a positive change among the masses through her passion for community service and the love of sharing others life stories. She is a proud mother to two wonderful boys and strives to be an inspiration to all. Christine presently serves as a Business Professor, Department Chair of Business and Faculty Vice President. She is the Founder and CEO of AfrikRising Nonprofit Organization. Christine is the author of Get That Job! Ace Your Job Interview – every time!