The Real Cost of College Textbooks

<p>Here's yet another timely textbook buying-tips thread. "This forum on the soaring cost of college textbooks drew responses from many readers, including students, professors and parents, who wrote in to tell how they've learned to deal with the sticker shock. Here are excerpts from their comments . . ."</p>

<p>Getting</a> Around College Textbook Sticker Shock - Room for Debate - NYTimes.com</p>

<p>Ya textbooks suck. You buy them for like 200$ and then sell them for 4$ minus shipping.</p>

<p>That's why you rent them!!!</p>

<p>^Agreed. I only use chegg.com anymore for my books.</p>

<p>We have found it cheaper in the long run to buy used on the internet then resell them. Sites we have used successfully include Amazon.com (marketplace), ebay, half.com, textbooks.com. Buying cheaper used and then reselling is cheaper than renting in most cases.</p>

<p>Only once had a problem where a book did not show up and half.com refunded the money and sorted it out with the seller.</p>

<p>The problem I've found is I don't know what classes I'm going to be in until 2 weeks after school starts (shopping period ftw). While it helps ensure I'm in the best class for me, it means I don't know which textbooks I need until I really do need them, so it's hard to buy online. And after shopping period ends, I can't return books to the bookstore.</p>

<p>@chsowlflax17: Do you know the general courses you take before each semester begins [like MATH100 or CHEM200 or whatever]? It may work to email several professors to ask what they plan on having for their booklists, then seeing if it appears the entire department uses the same book for that course. Probably won't help with things like English, but it's worth a try with math/science courses.</p>

<p>honestly... i've havent found chegg to be any cheaper then going out and buying it.</p>

<p>I feel that you could just buy used books like swimcatsmom suggested. You can just sell the books back for roughly equivalent the amount of money or have the option of keeping it for reference. </p>

<p>Personally I have made some money on a couple of books, while losing money on a couple others (balancing it out in the long run).</p>

<p>International editions ftw
I bought an environmental econ book for ~$35 yesterday that goes for $111.16 on Amazon.
Another accounting book was ~$30 ($152.65 on Amazon).
And they're identical to their US counterparts.
The enviro econ book doesn't even have the usual "not for sale in the US" on the cover.
Just goes to show how grossly overpriced textbooks are in the US.</p>

<p>If you don't have access to international editions, they're usually available on Amazon marketplace...</p>

<p>I didn't buy a single book senior year. Especially with less popular (senior level) classes you can often rent the book out from the library and just keep renewing it.</p>

<p>
[quote]
International editions ftw
I bought an environmental econ book for ~$35 yesterday that goes for $111.16 on Amazon.
Another accounting book was ~$30 ($152.65 on Amazon).
And they're identical to their US counterparts.
The enviro econ book doesn't even have the usual "not for sale in the US" on the cover.
Just goes to show how grossly overpriced textbooks are in the US.</p>

<p>If you don't have access to international editions, they're usually available on Amazon marketplace...

[/quote]
</p>

<p>There are also bookstore search engines that find the cheapest ones across several sites. The two books I need for math classes in the fall cost $260 new from the bookstore, about $200 used from the bookstore, over $100 on amazon, about $90 <em>renting</em> on Chegg and $40 <em>purchased new</em> from other marketplaces.</p>

<p>Most of my professors never used the textbooks. They are nice to have as reference materials, but you can borrow one from someone else in the class. Schools give the impression that they are required (so they can make more money). And like chuy said, many texts can be found in the library to borrow for free. And many students have friends in the same classes, so sharing is an option. Most students don't take the text books to class, so they are only used as a reference anyway. And I found that the few texts which teachers used were often sold out at the bookstore and they were slow to restock.</p>

<p>^That may be true at your school, but not for my classes.</p>

<p>I can only think of 2 that I didn't use heavily. Some I'm even sure I read cover to cover (psych text, for example, not novels).</p>

<p>But I've actually made a profit on a handful of my textbooks. Bought them used online, sold them back to the bookstore for more than I paid. Epic.</p>

<p>Where is the best place to buy the international versions of the textbooks?</p>

<p>Son just registered for his grad classes for the fall. He's taking 5 classes.</p>

<p>3 Professors haven't listed their required list on the bookstore website yet. </p>

<p>However, the other 2 Professors have put up their required book list. Combined, they require 14 books. That's right--14 required books for 2 classes. Can't wait to see what the other 3 Professors require!</p>