The textbook hustle

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Saving money on pricey textbooks

By: Domanique Crawford

The study, “Student Watch: Attitudes and Behaviors toward Course Materials: 2015-2016 Report,” reports that campus stores remain the top source for course materials purchases, with 80 percent of students in the fall and 73 percent in the spring acquiring units from the on-campus retailer.

Students are willing to pay the exuberant bookstore prices for the sake of convenience of a one stop shop for all scholastic supplies and saving time on receiving the text.

According to HSU’s cost calculator the average cost for books and supplies is $1,660. With a little bit of extra planning these alternative methods of purchasing scholastic texts are just as convenient as ordering from the Bookstore and offer more affordable prices.  

  1. Online Rentals- Renting a book online textbook providers are often cheaper than bookstore prices. You might be cautious about the cost of shipping, but most sites provide free return shipping. An added benefit for online rentals are that some of these websites offer access to e-book version while you’re hard copy is being delivered. Websites like Bigwords.com let you enter the text’s ISBN number and generates a comparative price list with various online sellers. Some of the most popular textbook ordering sites include: Amazon.com, Chegg.com, and Half.com.
  2. Book Swaps- HSU is a small community and you will inevitably share classes with the people in your major. Form a bookswap. Maybe a friend already has the textbook that you need just collecting dust. Offer a trade off.
  3. Ask your professor-  Professors understand that students can’t always afford the high cost of the required text and will sometimes have extra copies they can loan. Also, be sure to ask your professor if the most current issue of the text is necessary. You can save a lot of money buying an earlier model of the book.
  4. Info Boards- Check the info boards near the class in which the text is required. Students who no longer need their book might post flyers selling their old copies for reasonable prices.
  5. Check the Library- If you are really pinching pennies you might just want to check if the library has a copy of the text and photocopy the sections you need. As the cost of the copies can get expensive depending on the number of pages, you might want to try scanning the book and emailing the pages to yourself. Mind copyright laws!

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