Making Sound Decisions about Textbooks

Making Sound Decisions about Textbooks
Making Sound Decisions about Textbooks
As if tuition, room & board, and your pile of mounting student loans were not putting enough financial strain on you and your family as you begin college, here is some more bad news: textbooks are not cheap. In fact, they are downright expensive. While some high schools do make their students pay for their books, you have probably never encountered anything like shopping in a college bookstore with a list of all the books you need for your full slate of courses for a semester. For the cost-conscious student there are ways to save money on your textbooks.

For starters, take a look at all your syllabi and decide which books you can borrow from the library. If your library only has one or two copies of a particular book, go ahead and buy your own copy. You do not want to be scrambling for a book the day you actually need to turn to it. Keep in mind that most college bookstores will send back copies of unsold books to their distributors, so simply buying the book later in the semester is not a safe bet. Many libraries will compile a list of books that have been ordered by professors for a given semester and keep them on reserve. This means that you can look at the book in the library, but you cannot take it out. Consulting your library’s catalog is a way to access some of the books you need for free.

If you must buy the textbook, try to buy a used copy. Bear in mind that the used copies usually are the first ones to be sold out. The majority of your fellow students will be in the same boat as you, and they also will be looking for bargains. Be a discerning customer and leaf through a used book before purchasing it. Some used books can be in pretty rough shape. Make sure that your copy has not been completely marked up. You want to have room to make your own notes, and you also do not want to be led astray by a previous owner’s comments – they may be erroneous.

Talk with a trustworthy classmate and consider splitting the bill on some of the more expensive textbooks for your course. If you can set up a schedule to share the books, you can save some serious money. Be sure that you fully trust your friend as sharing can be difficult if you both are procrastinators. Remember that some professors will require a textbook and then will rarely refer to it during the semester. Do not be afraid to ask a professor at the beginning of the course how often a book will be used or consult the syllabus to see the reading assignments for the course.
http://www.onlinecolleges.net/2010/06/

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