Have you ever gone to purchase textbooks for yourself or a student and thought, “Is there a more affordable solution?” Because I was wondering about that same thing and found some valuable resources that many students have available to them, but are unaware about.
According to an article written by College Board, the average college student will spend about $1,200 per year on textbooks. With my recent years in college I would estimate textbooks to cost $500 per semester or $1,000 per year if you buy the new textbooks and all required materials. That’s still a lot of money to spend only for books!
Through working with the Admissions office as a volunteer tour guide I’ve learned a lot about the university that I did not know before. One piece of advice for students just about to start college courses or for parents buying their textbooks, is to go to your college’s library website and search to see if they have textbooks for your upcoming courses. General education and 100 level courses typically are in the library and available to checkout for free! Not all colleges may offer this for free, but regardless it’s worth it to do the research on your university and possibly save hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Buying used or older versions of the textbook for your classes are another way to go. Used books from online sources can be a hit or miss – sometimes you get the nice book from a student who seemingly never touched the book, and others you will get the book with pages torn out, highlights and doodles in the margins. Check out textbook buyback Facebook groups at your school to maybe find a few good deals as well. Buying an older version will depend on your class and professor, but I had a macroeconomics professor that told us to buy a textbook that was 2 editions old to save money (while arguing economics content never really changes it only changes chapters). Talk with your professor to see if this could be an option for you.
Electronic textbooks and online course materials are also a more affordable option in comparison to printed textbooks. Personally I’ve noticed that it is much easier to forget about online course work. I also study more efficiently and retain more information from books opposed to online reading assignments (which is ironic because I write for an online blog). However, everyone studies differently and despite costs – whichever option will aid you or your student to do well in classes, is the optimal choice.