College Textbooks

Everybody knows that textbooks can be expensive. New copies of some textbooks sell for over $100.

Fortunately, there are some alternatives to purchasing your textbooks from the university bookstore:

Buying College Textbooks

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Nearly every class you take will require a textbook. You should always buy the book for several reasons.

Some professors rely heavily on the textbooks for their class notes and exam questions. Secondly, some professors use the textbook as supplementary material to their lecture notes. Reading the text will prepare you well for their exams.

The most convenient place to purchase your required textbooks will be the university bookstore. The bookstore communicates with the administration office and knows how many students are enrolled in each class, thereby ensuring that the books you need will be in stock.

University bookstores also purchase thousands of copies from publisher and sometimes receive discounts for their large orders. However, the bookstore has to pay employees and administration expenses, so very little savings get passed on to the student. While the university bookstore gives you the convenience of getting all your books at once, you will probably pay more at the bookstore than if you buy your textbooks online.

You can generally find your required texts at online stores at cheaper prices than the bookstore.Many online bookstores offer cheaper copies than the university bookstore.

The major online booksellers, such as Barnes and Noble or Amazon, are good places to start looking for your college textbooks. Another good place to look is Half.com, which is affiliated with eBay.

Try searching below to compare prices.

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Tip: Buy Used textbooks

Always try to buy a used copy of the required text. The difference in price between a brand new copy of a textbook and a used copy can be significant. Purchasing all used copies of your textbooks can save you hundreds of dollars a semester.

Used textbooks are nearly always in good condition. Your university bookstore won't usually sell a used textbook if it is damaged or marked up. Some used textbooks may have a few notes written in the margin or some passages may be highlighted. You can search through the available copies to find on that has the fewest marks.

Selling Back your Textbooks

At the end of the semester you will have the option to sell back your textbooks for cash at the university bookstore.

Most students take advantage of these opportunities to get some quick cash for the summer or winter break:

Students tend not to keep their textbooks from their freshman and sophomore years, simply because these are introductory texts and not specialized enough to serve as a valuable reference. However, in your last couple of semesters when you take more specialized classes, you may want to keep some textbooks that will serve as a good reference for your field of study.

There are, however, several reasons that the bookstore may not buy back your textbook. The first is that your book is in poor condition. Books that are badly damaged or have too many marks on the pages may be passed over. Also, you may not be able to sell back your books if the professor decides to use a newer edition next semester, thereby making your edition obsolete.

If the university won't buy back your books, then consider selling them online, either through Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or Half.com. Of course, if your book is damaged or many years out of date then it won’t sell at these venues either.

But if you have a textbook that was only recently replaced by a newer edition, you have a good chance of selling it online. This is because many professors will continue to use older editions of the text for several years after a new edition is published, thereby creating demand for your text.