Buying books for college is the single most hated thing after doing homework. Even though the process itself is fine, and some people even enjoy it to a great extent, the problem is that books are expensive. You really need to make good use of your time and money to not become victim of publishers’ predatory pricing.
Publishers are companies, and their goal number one is to make money. You would expect academic publishers to charge less, since they are supposed to be more understanding towards college students’ needs. However
Even though some publishers are more successful and popular than others, there exists a certain tendency as to which publishers are more likely to come out with new revisions to their existing books. The names of these publishers would not tell you much, as you would still be required to buy their products. You have no other choice, really.
These are the reasons why book prices have gotten so out of control:
- Publishers, bookstores and colleges unite and set policies together. The end consumer is at a great disadvantage, as he is being played from every side.
- Little regulation and control in the market. Publishers, bookstores and colleges do what they want in terms of the prices and fees they charge.
- It is not the monopoly itself. It is publishers’ dominance coupled with some professors’ ignorance. They simply say that every new revision to come out is crucial and needs to be gotten.
- Some students’ ignorance as to the price they pay for books. It is easy to take advantage of that, and every time you buy a new book, it is a win for the publisher.
Many teachers do not even know what has changed from the previous edition. They are notified that a new edition has come out and when they get to teach a new class, they are very likely to update the course textbook from the “outdated” version to the new one. That sometimes happens even when it’s just a single typo that was fixed.
A new revision can come out any time and be assigned any time as well. You have to resist that and understand that ten or twelve revisions to a single textbook is a little bit too much. You can approach your professor, tell them that and see if they allow you to study from the previous version of the textbook. In most cases, you will be allowed to do so. You just need to have the guts to go to your teacher and ask them about it.
Say “No” To Campus Bookstores!
Whatever your school is, it almost one hundred per cent that your campus bookstore is going to be either Barnes and Noble or some other popular name. Bookstores realize that campuses offer great opportunities, and that’s why they make deals with colleges for distribution of academic material and supplies.
A Barnes and Noble bookstore would pay good money to your college just to be able to operate on campus. It is big money they are after, and what you do when you see a campus bookstore is just run away. The prices are unrealistic, and the only thing you can do there is sell your used books to other students.
Still, campus bookstores prosper because of freshmen, international students and just people who do not care about how much money they spend. If you are not in the latter category or especially if you are an international student, please note that having your book shipped to your from Ebay or from Amazon is as simple and as secure as getting it from a store.
Renting Your Textbook
A thing that has gotten quite popular over the past five years is renting textbooks. It is simple, and you can do it even online. Renting a textbook is not always going to maximize your savings though. Sometimes, it is better to buy a used textbook and then sell it again.
College students find alternatives to pricey textbooks.
The 82% increase in textbook prices since 2002 compares with a 28% in he overall Consumer Price Index during the same period.
Source: usatoday.com – College students say no to costly textbooks
Research, Research, Research
To spend less on books, you need to stick to one single scenario.
Every time you start a new semester with new classes, you just spend an entire evening doing some research about the books you need to buy. Some of them will be available online, some of them you will be able to get from your friends, and some can be rented. You just need to approach every book on an individual basis and be prepared for the old edition to not work.
We also recommend to read this article about 5 websites for buying, trading and renting textbooks to learn more about Chegg.com, Half.com, AbeBooks.com, Alibris.com.