College Life: Textbooks and where to find them

Hey all!  Today we’re going to take just a break from the beauty world and talk about college.  While many are graduated and ready to take on (or already taking on) the real world, a lot of beauty enthusiasts are still in school.  For those of us that are, one of the many burdens that a student has to deal with at the beginning of every semester is textbooks.

Most colleges today offer some sort of school run rental program or textbooks provided system.  In no way are textbooks provided for free by colleges.  Even if it seems like they are, they aren’t. Somewhere you are being charged an extra amount of money to have textbooks provided to you for rental or otherwise.  In the case of my school, I am being charged $125 per semester for book rentals.  A misleading program as it implies that all books will be available for rental through the school without any additional charges.  Wrong.  While this may be true for some popular programs, like English, for example or Education, smaller, less popular programs like Anthropology may not have any books available for rental.  This semester, for example, I am still paying $125 for the rental fee but only 3 books out of FOURTEEN were covered by the program.

Many students in this situation may thoughtlessly go ahead and buy the rest of their books directly from the student bookstore, but this I certainly do not recommend.  While you may be able to find a “used” version slightly cheaper, there are still so many other places where you can find your text books for a much lower cost.  Also, a large percentage college students would recommended waiting until after the first day of your classes to purchase books anyway as often times professors will announce that at least one of the books are no longer required or are actually optional so its best to get together a list post-syllabus day to ensure you’re only getting what you actually need.

Ready to get your books? Great.  It’s important to know that are several options for you to choose from as far as format, so let’s go over those first. These are listed from the cheapest option to most expensive.

Ebook – In pdf or reader-specific, electronic format to be read on your computer, phone, or e-reader.
Rental- Usually for a period of 5-6 months with the option to extend time frame. Shipping to return is typically free.
Used- Anywhere from like-new to very worn condition. Often contains writing or highlighting.
New- Brand, spanking new.

You can use Amazon (get Student free for 6 months with your .edu email!) or Ebay to find cheap options but your best bet is using a price comparing website like bigwords.com .  By entering ISBNs or searching book titles, Big Words will search several different websites providing rentals, ebooks, used and new copies and tell you where to  get your book for the absolutely lowest cost including shipping.  Using this website for the last two years, getting a combination of ebooks, rentals and used copies, I have managed to save at least $350 per semester from buying books from the bookstore.

I encourage *everyone* to use this price comparing services.  As poor, in debted college students there is no need to create any more financial stress than we need.  Save money! Live better! Wait…thats Walmart…

Happy Studying. 🙂