With the 2014 spring semester on the horizon, it’s time to get acclimated with college buddies over syllabus week. Take a second and check if there’s required reading on your syllabus. If that’s the case passing the course means buying the book.
Fear no more pain from college textbook prices with eCollegeFinder’s guide to buying textbooks at the lowest price possible. It won’t take a magic promotion code or stealing of digital copies to get what you need, just a few consumer tricks that will save you more than what the college bookstore says you’re saving from buying used.
Given that the course doesn’t require purchase of a campus exclusive edition, such as a custom textbook for your college or the professor doesn’t require problems to work from the book, an option to buy international text books is available. It’s no secret that text books are printed in countries worldwide. They’re merely derived from the U.S edition.
International edition textbooks are actually cheaper than U.S editions. Part of the reason is major publishing company’s textbook prices is based on the region of sale. Some differences are the ISB number, the cover, and quality of paper. A potential down side to buying an international edition is the problem sets could be different from the U.S edition. The good news is some international editions are EXACTLY the same as the U.S edition. Worse case scenario is returning an international edition because of its differences or your college bookstore won’t buy back the book. In that case a visit to that guy standing in front of a van on the street through campus will suffice. Nevertheless, buying the international edition is the best college textbook hack.
Comparing prices is another option to find the lowest price possible for textbooks. Bigwords.com is an excellent example of an e-commerce site that empowers the consumer to find the best possible price. They aggregates the web’s options for almost every book. This is a viable option if you need more than the information itself, like practice problems. Though this service can’t provide access codes, which limits some students from avoiding the publisher and they charge the most!
If money is tight for textbooks, there’s a service that with solve your textbook needs with maximum frugality. For a flat fee of $19.99 per textbook, Boundless.com has a premium study service that offers textbooks, flashcards, quizzes, and SmartNotes. If money is not an option at all, Boundless is still for you. For knowledge building purposes, Boundless has a catalog of free textbooks under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license that welcomes users to do whatever they want with those textbooks—as long as they give proper credit when credit is due.
Another free textbook option to explore is wikibooks.org. Or simply share textbooks if you have friends in the same lecture.
Lastly, if you do decide to buy an e-book over a hard copy because of the lower price, it is advised that the e-book be printed out, despite its green approach. Given that the cost of printing plus the price of the e-book doesn’t exceed the cost of a hard copy, e-books should be printed. The reasoning boils down to cognition. The presence of a hard copy has more weight than opening a textbook on a digital device.
Granted, the advantage of e-books are bountiful. They’re convenient, accessible anywhere with internet access, lessens the weight of caring around textbooks, easily searchable, and environmentally conscious. That being said, the primary purpose of these college textbooks is to learn something. Like writing notes on paper over computer note taking during lecture, the mind responds better to a physical book—plus computers easily distract those trying to get actual work done because of its accessibility to all aspects of knowledge in the world. Do yourself a favor and buy print because college is about making grades.
Happy textbook shopping!