Conflicting Advice on when to buy books

<p>I'm hoping people can offer opinions on their strategy for purchasing books for their classes. I've heard everything from "buy them in advance, the sooner the better because you're more likely to be able to get a used one", to "wait until the first day of class because the professor may tell you it's not needed since class notes are all online". Any information would be appreciated.</p>

<p>I'm assuming you're not the type who wants to squeeze every penny only to blow it on beers, drinks, and UIUC memorabilia. If so, buying books will take longer and be a pain in the but. Also, the following advice won't pertain.</p>

<li><p>Go to Illini Union bookstore as they have the course packets which the other stores sometimes don't have.</p></li>
<li><p>Go a week or two in advance, the earlier the better.</p></li>
<li><p>And the biggest, simplest rule of thumb; always buy used, never buy recommended.</p></li>

<p>That's it.</p>

<p>Going in person is better because you can hand pick the nicest used book and make sure you have everything you need. Going early avoids the crowds and ensures the books aren't sold out.</p>

<p>If you do buy worthless books that never get used (Physics 211, 212, 213, 214) , just return them for a full refund in the first week. Don't be a miser, buy all the required books and don't buy last year's used edition. It almost always turns into a pain the but and it's never worth it.</p>

<p>Students aren't usually moving in until, at most, a week before classes start, and the main move-in day is only 5 days before classes start. Have you actually made a special trip (assuming you're close enough) to get the books 2 weeks in advance?</p>

<p>First, why would you ask advice on something if you already know the answer?</p>

<p>Second, are you a paid admissions person? You've made enough posts on here that it looks like your dayjob. I'm not asking this to offend you, it's just that something about your comments makes me think that you are a UIUC employee.</p>

<p>As for your comment, yeah, I have come early, and I usually do. Just get to the bookstore ASAP, if you're in town Saturday, then get there first thing.</p>

<p>I asked because I don't know the answer. I'm the parent of an incoming freshman, and not a UIUC employee. I am employed at a university as an Oracle DBA. Though I'm not in admissions, I'm very familiar with admissions practices. Thanks for the information. It's been a long time since I've purchased textbooks.</p>

<p>No problem; and I apologize for my tone. </p>

<p>I hope your student has a fine freshman year and you find everything you need to on campus. As I said, buy the books at the bookstore ASAP and only buy used and recquired.</p>

<p>You could use Amazon, or pre-order at the bookstore, but as a freshman I would not do that. To this day, I still just get to the store ASAP and buy my books. Remember, if the book is not used at all, you can always return it.</p>

<p>Do not pre-order from the bookstore. I did that and ended up wasting a lot of money when I ordered used books that ended up being out of stock and replaced with new ones.</p>

<p>I usually wait until I go to the first class. Sometimes the professor will say that the textbook is not heavily emphasized and that the exams are primarily based on powerpoints, etc. In quite a few of my classes I have purchased the textbook only to find that it's useless. Another good resource for your son/daughter is to look up his/her professors on and often times there is good insight on the teaching style of the teacher (if they utilize the textbook heavily). </p>

<p>The Illini Book Exchange is also a good way to get cheap books. I've found that when there are no more used books at TIS/Follett's/Union there will still be students trying to get rid of their books through there. And both students are able to get a better deal. </p>

<p>As for which bookstore to go to, some course packets will only be available at a particular bookstore. I, however, always try to check each bookstore before buying an expensive book. Sometimes there is a big difference in price. If possible, I buy from TIS because they do have a rewards card.</p>