Buying and selling textbooks on a budget can seem like rocket science, whether or not that’s what you’re studying. As with any personal finance comparison, you must evaluate your options and then get the best value. Luckily, in this case, you get to sell your books back at the end of your studies.
Buying used textbooks is all the rage, for reasons that are self-evident. Whichever way you go, make sure you check prices for the book through many different retailers. Your school’s library is not always the least expensive, though they could be quite competitive (especially with secondhand books).
Look into renting a book. Physical and digital renting of textbooks is a possibility, and it could offer you impressive savings.
There are some advanced tips that could help you turn the corner, so to speak, with saving serious money. Here are a few:
Approach your professor to see if you can contact previous students from the same course. With the popularity of course management systems and online courses, it may be commonplace at your school and be an easy way to get a good price. There may be a system already in place for students to buy, sell or swap textbooks.
Your professor, again, may allow you to use a previous edition of a textbook. There will be some differences in the text, so check before you try this tactic, but it may result in a big price difference.
Ask your friends and classmates whether they know anyone who recently took the class you're starting; you may be able to buy their old textbooks on the spot if you're lucky.
Does your class require textbooks? For instance, if you are in Greek Philosophy, you should be able to find many primary and secondary sources for free online; just be sure to cite your sources to avoid plagiarism.
Don’t forget about buying books just yet. But when you purchase textbooks, sometimes is pays off to anticipate selling your books later. It may be an option to only purchase textbooks from companies with an established buyback program. Take a look at how much other bookshops are selling your required books for, though, and consider the value of any buyback offer relative to market prices.
Regardless of how you buy them, you may want to check with your school’s library to see how much you can get for your old books. As a general rule, it is often wise to sell textbooks in person, as shipping costs may reduce the money that you’ll get back from selling your textbooks. Again, maybe a buyback program from a students' book retailer would solve this problem.
Don’t be afraid to check with other students as well. If you know some people in your major, for instance, you might find a buyer for your used books via networking. A friend might know someone going into the class you just took, and that could be an easy way to get rid of the book.
Many students dread purchasing textbooks for a class at the beginning of a semester. But don't despair, there are ways to save money on textbooks. One of the keys is recognising that you have alternatives to buying everything brand new. You don’t have to purchase a new book through the school library or an on-campus retailer. Take a look at some other book buying options that are available, locally and online. Perhaps some of your fellow students know of some companies that they prefer for their textbook shopping. Ask around!
This article is by Brian Neese, a personal finance blogger who shares helpful tips on everything from
for students and money savers of all ages.