Purchase your school textbooks in a much smarter way

By Shawn Potter

Opinion Editor

Renting or buying used books is a great way to save money on expensive textbooks. Photo by Shawn Potter.
Renting or buying used books is a great way to save money on expensive textbooks. Photo by Shawn Potter.


Each semester, the race to get your textbooks launches another part of life than can be very stressful. Even after you have your schedule set up, you must then buy the required material, mainly consisting of textbooks, with the occasional guide or worksheet.

Just the very thought of having to get my textbooks each semester felt like another ordeal to get through. I miss the days before college, in grade school, where most of my classes would be handing our textbooks to us. So, what exactly changed that made it necessary for students to buy their own textbooks?

I think that a large part is due to the economy; supply and demand, along with all of the strategies that corporations use to make the most money that they can. I am in all favor of our government doing what is necessary for the good of the American people to stabilize and help the market flourish.

However, does that include the need for students to be charged for their textbooks? Not to mention the fact that students must pay outrageous sums of money to pay for their tuition alone, including housing if they choose to live on campus.

As I have only taken one class in macroeconomics while attending Cape Cod Community College, I don’t feel as though I have the right to criticize the process. It does seem acceptable  to be able to question the reason or reasons as to why college students must pay for their textbooks for courses they have already paid for. As a student myself, I would like to know why, and I think I can speak for many by asking this question.

Aside from what cannot be immediately changed, there are still ways that students can go about attaining their books while saving as much money as possible. I have gotten into the habit of renting textbooks if the option is available.

First, I look up the class materials by checking the required textbooks on InfoBear to find out what materials are needed, and if they give the option of renting or not. I would then open up Amazon and type in each book to see if I can buy or rent for a cheaper price. I continue to compare between sites like Chegg, and Bookbyte. Whichever site provides the cheapest resources, that’s the route I go with.

Another good reason to rent textbooks is to avoid being stuck with the book, or several if you buy more than one. Whereas if you rent, you have until the end of the semester to return the book to whatever carrier it was purchased from.

I have also noticed that students work well with each other through social media sites, particularly Facebook. For example, students have posted photos of all the books they have and are willing to sell or lend to another student in need.

Lastly, it is always a smart idea to be proactive in the process of attaining school textbooks. Waiting until the last minute will only cause more stress and anxiety before the semester even begins. If you choose to rent online, choose the standard shipping method. It takes longer, approximately five to seven business days, but it is the cheapest route to go.

Whatever your personal stand is about having to buy school textbooks, it is important to consider other, smarter way to go about getting textbooks for your courses.


Shawn Potter is the Opinion Editor for The Comment. Follow him on Twitter at @shawn_potter.

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