By Nancy Clement & Dawn Clement
Share creative ideas to assist people of all ages on tips to save money and improve their lifestyle!
August 28, 2010 (San Diego’s East County) —Want to save money on your college textbooks? Why buy when you can rent? Now you can rent textbooks from Bookrenter for a semester. Check their website to see if the book you are interested in is available--with 3 million titles, chances are good that it will be. They offer free shipping to your door and at the end of the semester, UPS comes and picks it up so you do not have the hassle of re-selling a textbook you no longer need.
For example Music: An Appreciation would rent for $18.95 for 125 days; the list price if you bought the book would be $94.56. That’s quite a savings. For more info, visit http://www.bookrenter.com/textbook_rentals.
So maybe you want to buy the textbook and keep it for your library. As any college student will tell you, textbooks are expensive and the cost is continuing to rise each year. According to the U.S. PIRG (Public Interest Research Group) Higher Education Project www.pirg.org/highered), college students spend an average of $900 on textbooks each year.
In today's economy, the cost of textbooks is a severe burden on students who are already struggling financially. It is estimated that 23% of students don't purchase required books due to the costs, which hampers the learning process and is not a good solution to the problem. Fortunately, there are other solutions.
Buying used books is a good start, but many textbooks are not available second-hand. New editions of most textbooks are published approximately every three years, and students are often told to buy the most recent edition, which means buying new books. Before you spend the extra cash for the latest edition, do a little research and find out what changes have been made since the previous edition. If the changes are minor, you may be able to use the older edition and save some money. Check with your instructors to make sure that is okay with them.
If you find yourself in a situation where you are assigned a new edition, don't panic! Believe it or not, the best price may not be found at the campus book store. Do a little research online to find the best price on a specific textbook. Just be sure to factor in the shipping costs – some sites offer free shipping, but most do not, and shipping charges can be very high.
There are numerous web sites where the sole purpose is to help you find the best deal on textbooks. Some are commercial sites, such as eCampus (www.ecampus.com) and Amazon (www.amazon.com). Amazon has a special section just for textbooks and up to 90% savings on used textbooks! Other sites, such as Campus Books (www.campusbooks.com) and BigWords (www.bigwords.com), are actually elaborate search engines that compare prices at other Web Sites. Both of these sites will also assist students in selling their textbooks at the end of the semester by using the search engine to find the best prices.
Commercial web sites usually include a section for students to buy and sell textbooks directly to each other. This process is referred to as “book swapping.” In addition to the book-swapping sections of the commercial web sites (eCampus has a book swap section), there are also non-commercial sites that offer free book-swap services. Worth checking out is Campus Book Swap www.campusbookswap.com), which is sponsored by PIRG.
College students, and their parents, have enough to worry about without adding the stress of wondering how they are going to pay for their textbooks. Invest a little time in shopping around, and it can really pay off for you and your wallet!
Nancy Clement is an east county Realtor®, mortgage broker and freelance writer.
Dawn Clement is a stay-at-home mother of three, freelance writer, and creative shopper.