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Do American colleges have libraries where students can rent/lend their textbooks?

NornaUrdNornaUrd 3 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
I was wondering about where do American students get their books and textbooks in college? Do you have to buy them or do you have access to the library that can provide you with at least some books? How do you manage this?
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Replies to: Do American colleges have libraries where students can rent/lend their textbooks?

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6634 replies41 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    You need to buy them. Often you can find used books to buy. More common place now are courses requiring e books with access codes.

    Definitely plan on budgeting for books and supplies.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33101 replies358 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Or rent them. There are a number of reputable companies doing this and a growing number of colleges that facilitate (eg, picking up rental books at the school bookstore and returining them there.)

    But as momofsenior1 said, some require purchase and some you'll need to own, for reference, going forward.

    The issue with th library is any text books there are often checked out by other kids and can be due back in 2-3 weeks.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6634 replies41 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Yes, on renting them, sorry!

    My D is finding that there is a lot of legwork involved in finding the best prices and combination of buying, renting, and ebooks. Some courses you wont have an option but for others they are more flexible. Depends on the school, the course, and professor.

    The college board says the average student spends $1200 on books and materials/year. https://www.cbsnews.com/news/whats-behind-the-soaring-cost-of-college-textbooks/

    My D didn't come close to that last year but already had one course this year have an access code costing $140. It's non negotiable because in addition to the text book, and work sets, that's how assignments are submitted. Each student needs a unique code.

    Again, this needs to be considered when budgeting expenses for college.
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  • scmom12scmom12 3079 replies21 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    At D’s university most professors put a copy of their text book at library and it cannot be checked out. Wouldn’t count on it for whole semester but an option. Also always check with professor. Friend who teaches tells her students they don’t need newest editions of texts (older is cheaper) but the official registration site always sends them to the newest edition.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9017 replies489 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    My D has been using the books at the library since she was a freshman. At her college, the textbooks must be used in the library, which is where she does her work anyway. She’s saved us a fortune in textbooks.
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 33101 replies358 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Amazon is another resource.
    You can look up the ISBN number and see if a new version is radically different. Sometimes, it just adds charts or updates footnotes. (You should always check the ISBN, anyway.) Other times, it can be harder to navigate because page numbers have changed. At some colleges, I've heard a prof can order only certain chapters in a textbook, annoying.

    My kids' books were only expensive the first year, til they got the hang of renting. Or buying/reselling. Some of this depends on your major.
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  • CheddarcheeseMNCheddarcheeseMN 3326 replies11 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Profs might put a copy of textbook at the library available for 2-hour use but this doesn’t work well unless you are trying to use it at off times like early mornings. There is little consequence to going beyond two hours and multiple students try to access the book the day before assignments and exams.
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  • happy1happy1 22662 replies2224 postsVerified Member Senior Member
    Another source my kids used for rental books is Chegg. They seemed happy with that service.

    They also bought books (both new and used) through Amazon rather than the bookstore to save money.
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  • momtogirls2momtogirls2 790 replies4 postsRegistered User Member
    We price the books from the campus bookstore and use a textbook comparison site like slugbooks.com or bigwords.com etc comparing prices for new, used and rentals (also look at rental dates). However if the code is needed for a book the only option may be to purchase new. However the cost of a new book can vary so still worth pricing around for a few mintues.

    I couldn't handle relying on a copy in the school library since there may be one book for x amount of students meaning no guarantee if would be available at the time you need it.
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  • oldfortoldfort 22866 replies290 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 5
    my kid rents from Amazon or buys used books there.
    edited August 5
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  • cptofthehousecptofthehouse 28775 replies56 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    It can vary. You should google “textbooks interlibrary loan” and read up on the situation. My son did borrow a number of his books during college this way through the local library—not his college library. It worked most of the time back then. But somehow the library cannot get a hold of the most recent edition of a text book or it takes a while to get it. In his case, he was on a block system at his school so he only needed the book for 3 1/2 weeks so any time limitations for the borrow were not an issue for him. That may not be the case for regular semesters and trimesters.

    Your school library often has copies of texts available that may be allowed to be used in the library. Again, sometimes theyvare begins in terms of latest edition.

    These days, my youngest’s texts and reading material were oftrn available in line and he paid a fee for access to it. Sometimes the materials were not books but collections of readings. I recently took a course that gave me access to the text that way—they did charge only a $75 fee to have it printed out and it took up 3 full 3 inch binders of hard print. They have some deal with Kinkos to have it printed at that set price.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 3693 replies16 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited August 5
    Chegg and Amazon for books rentals. My son is also finding pdf of engineering books he needs online. He's OK with doing this. . Both kids buy used when they can find them. Never really been disappointed and "huge" savings in general.
    edited August 5
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  • NornaUrdNornaUrd 3 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
    Thank you for your help guys! I never thought that the textbooks cost that much in USA and that students have to do that much legwork to obtain them.
    But if there is only one textbook available in the library, is it possible to take pictures of some pages to read them in your room? Why don't students do that? Or is that illegal?
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 3693 replies16 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Think reasonably. You have a reading assignment for 40 pages. Are you really going to spend the time to hunt down the book and if it's still available take pictures or even copy that much on a regular basis?
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  • NornaUrdNornaUrd 3 replies1 postsRegistered User New Member
    Knowsstuff wrote: »
    Think reasonably. You have a reading assignment for 40 pages. Are you really going to spend the time to hunt down the book and if it's still available take pictures or even copy that much on a regular basis?

    Of course. To be honest, that's what we do in Ukraine ) There are books that are available only in central public library and only one or two copies. So when you finally get a hold of it, you take pictures of paragraphs that you need (it takes up to 10-20 minutes usually) and then work with them in comfortable environment (at your home, for example) instead of sitting in the library. It is a good option when you are working on your thesis or diploma. However, if you need the whole book, taking its pictures might take up to 2 hours. Not the best option, but it might be better than buying a book for 80 bucks or so.
    That's why I ask.
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 6634 replies41 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    I think the bigger issue is going to be with access codes for courses that require online work submissions. There is no getting around those fees.

    Most US colleges will have a line item for books/supplies when they list their total cost of attendance. IMO, you need to work that into your budget. If you can save money there, that's great, but you shouldn't count on it.


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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 8742 replies321 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    The US copyright laws governing Fair Use would permit photographing a few pages for educational purposes. Copying a whole book to get around having to buy it sounds like a violation of the copyright laws.
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  • stradmomstradmom 4981 replies50 postsRegistered User Senior Member
    Some professors also post digital copies of reading assignments online.
    A few students partner up and share the costs of renting/buying a textbook, but that's not very common.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 672 replies8 postsRegistered User Member
    edited August 6
    NornaUrd wrote: »
    Thank you for your help guys! I never thought that the textbooks cost that much in USA and that students have to do that much legwork to obtain them.?
    You only need to go through the legwork described here if you’re looking to save what often amounts to 1-2% of the school total cost. My D gets to the bookstore early, buys used copies when possible, regular versions when not, and focuses on doing the work. I can’t imagine her trying to go to the library to beat others to the one copy of a textbook to get work done.

    Some may need to do this, but I would think it would make college much harder.
    edited August 6
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  • momtogirls2momtogirls2 790 replies4 postsRegistered User Member
    Keep in mind our kids may find out the exact books they need a few weeks ahead of time. They can look online to find out, spend about 10 minutes researching for the best price per book which includes (at least for my daughter's school) knowing the exact price at the campus bookstore. Then in the comfort of home place an order and the book are at the house in a few days. It is very little legwork to save money. We also like bargain hunting and saving money so it is worth it for my family.

    Some kids like my daughter would be so stressed out knowing each time she needed to look for something she would have to hope the book is available the time she is available. At the end of the semester she then has books to return if rented or sold if used/new and no longer needed or saved if she feels she may want to save them.
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