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5 Ways To Buy Cheaper Books

So youíve just spent thousands of dollars on tuition; now you can register for your courses. When you look at the book list for each class, you realize that your professors expect you to spend at least another thousand on books! Here are some ways you can minimize the expenses of books.

1. Buy online.

If you go to alibris.com, or amazon.com, or chapters.com, you can often get a good selection of books at a discounted price. Alibris and Amazon are particularly helpful because they have used books available. Amazon offers you used books through their marketplace option. Alibris automatically searches for used books. Remember that when you order books online you can often get free shipping. At Amazon, the free shipping is not available with used books. So grab a calculator and find out what the best option for you is.

If you start looking for your books in advance, certain online sites offer you discounts if you shop more often. Alibris will send you a coupon for 10% off your next purchase. Is it worth it to break your order up to get this discount? Do you know someone who recently bought books online, and can you borrow their code? Can you find any special discount keys on the internet? (These discount codes wonít be available on the site itself: you will need to google other sites to find out).

One last point about buying books online: eBay, though not specializing in books, often has books at a fraction of their cost. Just check the shipping prices to make sure that you are getting a bargain. You can get new or used books on eBay: often eBay stores are the best place to search so that you can ďBuy it NowĒ; sometimes waiting for the end of an auction is the way to go.

2. Scan Around School.

Used bookstores are often located very close to college and university campuses. Often times, students sell the school books that they donít want to use again. You donít have to spend hours in each bookstore looking for each book: simply walk into the bookstore with a list and ask the store clerk or owner if they have what books you are looking for. The person in the bookstore will be able to help you much more quickly than you would be able to find the books yourself: they might check a computer, or they might know exactly where it is, or they might be able to take you to the spot on the shelves where it would be if they had it.

3. Be edition-savvy.

Buying used would be great, but you need to have edition 847 of Microbiology; it just came out this year! Ask your professor if it is okay to use an older edition of the text. Many textbooks are reprinted frequently, and even your prof canít keep up with the latest updates. Offer to photocopy the extra chapter, if there is an extra chapter added to the latest edition. If you need to have the latest edition, buying online is probably your best way to find the cheapest one.

Textbooks are not the only books that you have to be edition-savvy for. If you are slated to read Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, there have been many different versions of this book published (and some you can get at a used bookstore for only a scant few dollars). Ask your prof (you can phone or email them) if they want you to have a particular edition. Sometimes they want you to (literally) be on the same page as them; other times they just want you to follow along as best you can. If they want you to get a certain critical edition, again, offer to photocopy the literary criticism.

4. Weigh the Benefits.

Some books are considered recommended reading. Is it worth getting? Is the prof ever going to refer to these books? Why not wait until later in the year. If the prof mentions something crucially important in a certain book, then you can consider getting the book later if you need to. Youíd be surprised how many books make the syllabus without even being mentioned through the entire year.

Other times, it might save you time and hassle to simply get the book. For instance, if you are in a first year English class, and they recommend buying the MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers, you might as well get the book because you will be using it for the next four years. Ask an older student in your class what books are worth getting.

If itís not worth buying a book, you can often read what you need to read in the library. You can also borrow classmatesí books from time to time.

5. Photocopy Everything.

Iím not advising that you break any copyright laws here, but sometimes if you can photocopy books, (entire out-of-copyright books, courseware packs, or relevant chapters) you will be saving yourself a ton of money. And the cheapest places to photocopy books are often not on campus. And itís often cheaper to do it yourself rather than take it to a service. Ask a classmate to borrow the books for one day: and always return them the next day.

These five hints to buy cheaper books can more than halve your book expenses. Then you can spend your money on other, more important things (like rent, tuition, or refreshments). Be an active comparison shopper to save yourself tons of money.

Submitted by:

Morgan D. James

Morgan James is the editor of The Guide to Student Loans. The Guide to Student Loans contains all the information that you need to get ready to go back to school without breaking the bank.




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