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Dont let college textbooks break the bank
CHICAGO (9/23/09)--If you’re a college student who’s still reluctant to part with the $200 for that new chemistry textbook, don’t make a last-minute run to the campus bookstore just yet: There are ways to get the textbooks you need at a lower cost--or even for free (chicagotribune.com Sept. 4). It can take more time to explore other options than a single trip to the bookstore might, but the extra effort can translate into hundreds of dollars saved at the end of the school year. Consider these alternatives to braving the bookstore:
* Try your campus library. Many professors make copies of their required textbooks available on reserve at campus libraries--meaning you can check the book out for a short period of time, usually a few hours. Check with your professor to see if they have placed items on reserve. If there is only one copy on reserve, try visiting the library at non-peak hours to ensure that the book won’t be checked out by someone else. * Consider renting. New services like Chegg.com rent textbooks to students for much less than it costs to buy them--usually 50% of the list price or less per semester (usnews.com Sept. 2). Students return the rented textbooks by mail when they are finished using them. * Look for on-campus book swaps. Many university student groups organize textbook swap events at the beginning of each semester. Watch your campus e-mail account for notifications of these kinds of events (many groups will send out mass e-mails to student lists prior to the swap date) or check with your student organization office to see if any swaps are planned. Some websites also facilitate textbook swapping--try TextbookRevolt.com or Bookins.com for an online option if no campus events are available. * Buy international. International versions of textbooks often cost much less than U.S. editions, and they usually contain the same content. Check with online booksellers to compare prices of international editions. However, make sure the international edition is actually the same as the U.S. edition before you buy; read textbook descriptions carefully and consult user reviews and comments when available.
For more information, read “Study Finds Turning to Digital Textbooks May Be More Costly” in Money Mix: Launch Your Life.
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