It’s the first week of your college semester. You’ve just paid off your tuition, housing and food plan. If you’re lucky, you might have a couple dollars left for gas.
That’s when you get it: the required materials list from your professors, fresh from the copier. The last thing you need.
As any seasoned college student will tell you, this evil list of textbooks is never a joy to receive. If you’re extremely fortunate, you may only need to grab a couple of textbooks in a semester. More than likely, you’re not extremely fortunate.
For an average semester at college, you will be asked to buy a good handful of overpriced, uninteresting tomes of knowledge. College textbooks come in all shapes and sizes, but are mostly long and boring. You would think that the more boring a textbook gets, the lower the price would be. Sadly, the opposite is true.
Truth is, most students will pay hundreds of dollars in a semester for just a few books. Some will have semesters where the textbook bill crosses into four-digit territory. Many graduates will tell you – get familiar with the fast food dollar menu. You’re going to be ordering off it a lot.
Since these textbooks are not going to buy themselves, it is important that you know where to get them for the best price. The bookstore at your university likely stocks most of the books you need.
Don’t step foot in the bookstore.
College bookstores usually sell textbooks at face value, if not for a slightly lower used price. Face value for a quality textbook can be anywhere from $50 to $200. Multiply that by the nine or ten books you will need and – you get the idea.
When shopping for textbooks, your best bet is to shop online. On sites like Amazon and Half.com, you can find textbooks for much cheaper than face value. Buying them used from an independent seller will usually get you the best price.
Before your semester begins, try e-mailing your professors and asking for the reading list early. This way, you will have some time to shop around online and get your books mailed to you. Doing this, you can avoid the headache of shopping at the college bookstore and handing them the last of your savings account.
At the end of each semester, be sure to sell the textbooks you no longer want. You can resell them using online sites, or the bookstore will buy them off you. Either way, selling your books is a great way to make back some much-needed dough. After all, that next semester is right around the corner. And with it comes a whole new list of textbooks to buy.