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buying versus renting music theory textbooks

chalkboard2010chalkboard2010 Registered User Posts: 50 Junior Member
edited July 2012 in Music Major
Son is a composition major.

There are 2 pretty pricy books he needs to purchase or rent..

I do not know if these are books he will use and re-use or whether they are one shot deals type of things..

Anyone have any ideas on whether it is wiser to rent or purchase these books.. One book in particular is upwards towards $200 in cost... The other can be purchased used for quite a bit less.

Thanks for any ideas.
Post edited by chalkboard2010 on

Replies to: buying versus renting music theory textbooks

  • CLRN8MOMCLRN8MOM Registered User Posts: 352 Member
    Check to see if the same books are used for more than one term. Often this is the case, and that may influence your decision.
  • stradmomstradmom Registered User Posts: 4,869 Senior Member
    Sometimes upperclassmen have old books they are willing to lend or sell at a better price than the bookstore. Facebook can help.
  • orion12orion12 Registered User Posts: 158 Junior Member
    I agree. You should check to see if the book may be used for multiple semesters. Especially in Music History, Theory, and Ear-training courses, a book will be used for multiple semesters. If that is the case, you should buy a book. Buying it used isn't necessarily a bad choice either.

    If you know that they will only need it for a semester, consider renting it.
  • musicprntmusicprnt Registered User Posts: 6,253 Senior Member
    As with any textbook, be careful of the biggest sham out there, that of 'revised' textbooks, especially if you decide to buy a used text book. Textbooks get revised and when they do, the old version can become useless, even though they often have very little changed from edition to edition. Carefully check what version the course requires before buying a used copy...

    The other thing people can't answer is if the book will have value down the road. Some books in music theory and composition are also good reference volumes to be used later, so a book may be worth buying if it is a good reference book (one series of books I recall hearing about were Piston's books on composition/theory, written donkeys years ago).

    Basically if the book can be used multiple years or has reference value, buying it may be worth it. Also, make sure to check around, you don't have to buy it from the school, see what Amazon and others are charging for it, or try other bookstores and such, to see what is out there, you might be able to get a new or used version for a lot less:)
  • ohiobassmomohiobassmom Registered User Posts: 1,401 Senior Member
    I'm finding that a number of S' music major books are pretty pricey. I've found some for less used (not at the college online bookstore, elsewhere, though a couple are truly cheapest there) and will probably buy those, after checking carefully for revision/edition. If he doesn't need them beyond the semester, he can sell them. The used cost isn't much higher than the rental cost in many cases, and if he sells after, then the same. And no late fee :)
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