Textbook Cost Trauma & How to Reduce Your Cost

I’m a day late with this week’s question, but I wanted to get it in as students will be dealing with purchasing textbooks for the first time with in the next few weeks and these are very handy tips.

This week’s Ask Me Anything question is about the cost of college textbooks: College textbooks are so expensive. Are there ways to help me spend less on books?

Sticker shock is a reality for college freshmen and their parents when it comes to textbook prices . A recent US News article quoted a survey by the College Board which found that on average students pay $1290 per year for textbooks.

There are a number of ways to offset the cost of textbooks. Some are long-standing options and some are a result of the digital age.

Students can search for used books at their campus store or online via Amazon, Chegg and other online textbook resellers. Before you buy a used book, consider if a new book is best for your needs. For example: A used copy of Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer makes sense. But a used copy of a science or business law textbook might not be a good option. You may want to check with your professor before going the used book route.

Your college library may also have reserved copies of required textbooks available. Note that there may be limitations on taking reserved books from the library.

Digital options include renting or buying downloadable copies textbooks. At some colleges there is also the possibility of Open Educational Resources (OER) which are online textbooks that are free to use. Also check to see if your college has a booksellers discount. A number of colleges partner with eCampus.com, which offers students substantial discounts on e-textbooks.

You may also want to reach out to your college financial aid office, as book advances from your financial aid may be available or there may be book scholarships you can apply for.

While textbook prices may overwhelm you, there are many options available depending on your needs.

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