September rolls around, your timetables are released and professors begin posting course outlines for the semester… That means students have the opportunity to review what courses require textbooks and purchase them beforehand to eliminate the extensive lineups during the first week. BUT, as many returning students have noticed, sometimes this is not the best option.
It is not uncommon for professors explain on the first day of class that textbooks are only recommended and not actually required for the course. Or they could provide a third party retailer that may be selling the book for less. If your experience is anywhere close to mine, you will find yourself standing in the bookstore lineup holding hundreds of dollars worth of textbooks that you probably will open once… Not an ideal situation for anyone and can be extremely straining on your wallet. Most bookstores allow for the return or exchange of textbooks within a week or two after purchase, but save yourself the time of standing in line and wait before buying.
If you do not want to pay full price for a textbook there are options of buying used textbooks at a discounted price or renting your textbook given you return it at the end of the semester. However, these options are frequently limited and result in students having to buy brand new for full price. Some schools also have an online forum where students sell their used textbooks for a very discounted price, most likely cheaper than you would find at a bookstore.
If you really do not want to spend any money on textbooks it is possible that your school library carries a copy of the textbook that can be rented out for use. You can then construct your own notes from the book while you have it or take photocopies of the chapters you need. Although I would not recommend photocopying the whole book because it is extremely time consuming, pricey, and very bad for the environment.
One last tip is to look online. You would be surprised to find how often a FREE, yes you read that right, free version available in a PDF just from a simple Google search. If this is unsuccessful, Amazon carries a wide variety of textbooks that will ship right to your front door. Just make sure you order it ASAP to avoid delays and missing your required readings (very sad, I know).
Cheap Students blog constructed a post that compares ordering a textbook from Chapters/Indigo or Amazon and can be extremely beneficial for those interested in buying online.
There are many different options for students to save money when buying textbooks and I encourage everyone to take advantage of it!