Hidden Costs of College – Textbooks


TextbooksThere is a lot more to college expenses than paying your tuition. You have to think of including everything, food, transportation, housing, some sort of social life, and textbooks. Textbooks in college can be hundreds of dollars a book, depending on your major. There are a lot of different ways that you can try to work around the problem of book cost, but in doing so you could be running the risk of being ill prepared for your course or even be forced to buy a second book, thus spending more in the long run. There are a few things you can keep in mind when trying to get your textbooks.

Check the Edition

Many books will come out with different editions on a regular basis. Typically the changes from edition to edition are minimal, examples changed out or problems corrected and similar adjustments make up most changes between editions. However, some of these changes can be problematic, depending on your professor. Some professors do not care at all what edition is being used. Some, however, will require a very specific book and their course may have materials that aren’t available in other editions. To verity what edition you have, just check the inside cover it should read something like “Differential Equations Sixth Edition”

Do You Need the CD?

Many books come with media compliments in the form of a CD that is stuck inside the front or back cover. Some professors use these heavily, some not at all. If you have any questions, you should ask your professor before you purchase the book. It’s all well and good to get cheap textbooks, but if you end up having to front the money for the CD as well, you may end up spending more than you would have to buy them together. Other add-ons for books can include workbooks, quiz packets, and website login information.

Is it Online or in the Library?

While it’s rare for math or science books to do so, a lot of publishing companies are taking advantage of e-books. You could purchase a download and port it to any e-reading device. The downside to this option is that typically you can’t transfer the book from one device to another and highlighting options can be difficult. In a pinch you could also check your university’s library catalog. If you act quickly enough you may be able to snag just the book you need and not pay anything extra for it. They usually have limited stock of the books and the library can also limit the amount of time you are allowed to keep the book, but it’s an option that is worth looking into.

Sharing is Caring…

The tried and true method of pooling resources is also a good way to lower textbook costs. If you have a group of friends in the same course you could pool your money together to purchase the courses’ textbook. If you are going to be studying as a group anyway, there is less of a chance that having one book will cause issues. However, it’s best if you have a set schedule set out for that who has the book and when. Obviously this won’t be an option for every class, but sometimes it works out.

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