I will be a college freshman this fall, and I am currently involved in the process of purchasing my textbooks. In order to lower costs, I am planning on purchasing used textbooks, but many of my required books also include DVD’s or access codes for online content. On my college’s online bookstore, it says that used textbooks do not include valid access codes and may not include CD’s, DVD’s, or other supplements. I was wondering if anyone has experience with purchasing this type of used textbooks. Have they included the access codes or the discs? What did you do if they didn’t?
I wouldn’t recommend buying used if you need an access code. Once you buy the used book and the access code separately, you spend pretty much the same amount, or more, as you would getting the package deal. You can always buy the access code separately online, so it’s not a huge deal if your book doesn’t come with one - but like I said, this method probably won’t save you much money.
My first semester, I needed a textbook that cost $149.99 new with an access code. I thought that was ridiculous, so I found a used copy after some looking around and ended up paying $107 - but I have to spend an additional $47 on the code. I was in the same situation next semester with another class, so I just bought the new book with code.
ETA: Don’t buy textbooks now unless you know you’ll need them - a lot of times you won’t. Wait until class starts and you see what your professors say about them.
Wait until you have the prof’s contact info and/or the syllabus and find out if the access code is actually necessary. I have had a few classes where there was no getting around the access code (and to buy it on its own was nearly as much as the book, negating the point of buying a used book and getting the code separately) and I’ve had a few in which we never used it, and the profs knew from the start that we wouldn’t and reflected that in their syllabus. College bookstores are after your money, and will convince profs to list more expensive versions of the text through their booklist system.
This is quickly becoming a problem in classes including online components. It’s essentially eliminated the used textbook market. Online access codes can often be bought individually from the publisher, but buying the code + buying the used book often ends up costing more than simply buying the new book with the code.
As others have said, if a class requires online access, I’ll typically just buy a new book that includes the code.
Thanks for all of the helpful responses. I will ask my professors if their classes will require the online content.
Ask your professor but typically when a professor assigns a textbook with an online component, it is because he/she has included the online component as part of their class. I usually stay away from the used version of textbooks with access codes. However, sometimes you can purchase the access code separately.