College Tips:
Saving Money On Textbooks - Just One Suggestion

Many first time college students suffer from sticker shock when they realize that a single textbook can cost $150 or more and that they need 4, 5, or 6 or more textbooks for the semester.

Sure, you could buy all your books at full price and be done with it, or you could save yourself (or your parents) some significant dollars with Just One Suggestion – shop around.  It’s amazing how many options there are and how much variation there is in the price of a single textbook.

First, you need to decide what works best for you – printed or on-line only.  Some students have a definite preference for one format over the other.  Many students prefer to take notes in a printed book while others value the “searchability” of an on-line book.  

Then you need to decide between buying and renting.  Certainly if you need the book for more than one semester or you expect that the book is something you will need or want during your professional career, buying is the preferred option.  But if it is a book you simply need for the semester, renting certainly has its cost benefits.  

And lastly, you’ll need to decide between new and used.  You can save significant dollars by opting for a used book, but if someone else’s highlighting will cause you anxiety while reading or studying, the savings may not be worth it.  Before deciding between new and used, also verify if the class requires an on-line access code for a printed book.  These are often not included with used versions and buying the access code separately is more expensive than buying it bundled with a new book.

Once you determine what format is best for you, do a little comparison shopping.  Be sure that you use the ISBN number and verify that the edition and published date are correct.  If you are not absolutely sure that the book is required for a class and you are trying to order them early, pay close attention to return policies (return by dates, who pays for shipping, what documentation will be required).

Of course, before ordering any books, it’s always worthwhile to check with friends a year or two ahead of you to see if they have the books you need and are willing to loan them to you or sell them to you. Also many classics of literature can legally be downloaded for free from sites such as Project Gutenberg.

When dealing with textbooks, don’t be penny wise and pound foolish.  Never lose sight of what your tuition is costing and while saving money on textbooks is good, don’t do it at the expense of suffering through a class with a textbook in a format that just doesn’t work for you. 

The METIS Planner was designed specifically for busy college students and has you covered when it comes to all your to do’s – short term, month over month, and semester long projects. The Financial Helper section of the Supplemental (Bonus) Downloads includes a tool to help organize and track your textbook buying/rental activities each semester.

See our Order Now Page to purchase a print at home version of the METIS Planner with full digital access to all supplemental/bonus downloadables.