As an incoming freshman, there are so many exciting things to look forward to when starting college. Between moving in, making new friends, getting to know your roommate, and joining clubs, it can be easy to put aside those less-exciting tasks like purchasing textbooks. It can be difficult to figure out the best way to buy books - especially when you might need four or five per semester, depending on your course schedule. To help you out, we compiled the best tried-and-true textbook tips from current students to help you save time and money this semester (and every semester after that!)
Decide if you’ll use the book when the class is over
If you aren’t going to look at the textbook again, don’t buy it for full price. If you plan to further your education in what you’re studying, then paying full price for a brand-new book or used book may be beneficial in the long run. You’ll be able to refer to the text if you need. But, if you won't use it again, don't spend the extra money to buy brand new. Save those dollars for something else! If you buy a book and decide you don’t want to keep it, the GWU Bookstore will buy back your textbook for a portion of what you paid for it. This can be a great way to recoup some of the money you spent initially.
Renting a textbook has become popular because of the convenience. After all, who really wants to keep that Calculus textbook after the class is over? Renting is a great way to keep your expenses down while being able to send the book back at the end of the semester. This is a good option, especially if you know you won't be taking notes in the book or wanting to keep it afterward. Websites like Chegg.com or Amazon.com offer textbook rental services at competitive prices.
Buy used books
There are a lot of options for purchasing used books! Sometimes, these are in great condition - perhaps just a little wear on the edges. This can be helpful if you're planning to keep the textbook as a resource after the class is over. That way, you won't spend a fortune on a brand new book. Compare the cost to rent or buy used on Chegg.com, Amazon.com, and at the GWU Bookstore - sometimes it’s cheaper to buy used instead of renting.
Many textbooks are available in an online eBook format. For first time users, they can be a little difficult to navigate, but you're sure to get the hang of it after a few study sessions. Benefits of e-books include lower cost, being able to highlight in the text, taking notes on your laptop, and not having to carry a heavy book around in your backpack. Plus, you will always have your book when you need it in class!
Consider buying an older edition
Sometimes the only difference from a new and old book is it may look nicer and have different pages. Before purchasing the book, make sure you compare the two for any major differences. Ask your professor if purchasing an older edition will work - chances are they have used the older edition and may tell you that it will work just fine.