With the price of textbooks these days, can you really blame college students for seeking out alternative options to traditional textbooks?
According to The College Board, the average student at a four-year public college pays about $1,200 a year for textbooks and supplies and the average private student pays $1,244. New textbook costs have been rising by about 6 percent a year and have risen 82 percent since 2002, according to the United States Government Accountability Office. Even with numbers like these, plenty of students still buy new, physical textbooks.
“Some people just don’t know,” said Anne Dwane, chief business officer at Chegg — a website that sells and rents textbooks. “They show up thinking they have to buy everything new.”
It doesn’t have to be this way in 2013. Here are three ways to save money on textbooks that weren’t available even a few years ago.
1.) Download it for free or cheap online
According to the Book Industry Study Group, the percentage of students reporting that they’ve downloaded course content from unauthorized websites has risen to 34 percent from 20 percent in 2010. Of course, there are both legal and illegal ways to go about this so make sure you don’t break the law to save money.
Go about it the right way and you can pay nothing for some of your textbooks. Just prepare to read through a large document, which may be in a PDF format. If you don’t mind reading your textbook on your computer or laptop, then you really can’t justify not downloading it for free. You can probably even print it out, if you really need to have a physical copy.
2.) Go the eBook route
In many cases, buying an e-book versus a physical textbook can save you money.
A Cult of Mac article compared the costs of several textbooks, showing that eBooks were almost always cheaper to buy or rent than buying or renting new or used physical textbooks. To give you an idea, the article compared the costs of the textbook “Elementary Differential Equations”: $224.25 for new physical, $168.25 for used physical, $168.25 for used rental, $113.50 for eBook and $39.49 for eBook rental.
Beyond price, there are other reasons you may want to consider buying a digital textbook.
By taking the eBook route, you no longer have to carry around a bunch of books. With eBooks, you can essentially find content in the book in a way as simple as a Google search versus flipping through it. And no more trying to read your own terrible handwriting, since eBooks allow you to take notes digitally. It’s truly ideal for many students.
You can now rent textbooks on multiple websites, ranging from Amazon to TextbookRentals.com. The beauty of this is that it’s almost always less expensive and you don’t have to wait in line to sell it back for a small percentage of what you originally bought it for or let it clutter your apartment.
Cult of Mac showed that e-textbook rentals always saved students the most money. That’s at least with all the textbooks they compared. Renting physical textbooks is often the next cheapest option. Dwane sees rentals as a “pay as you go” kind of method, wondering, “why buy it when they can rent it?” Unless you can foresee loving the book and ultimately wanting a copy for yourself, then renting can be both the cheapest and most practical route to take.
Dwane has noticed more and more students looking for the lowest possible prices when it comes to textbooks and the smartest ways to make the most of their educational investment.
“What’s so great is today students have more choices than ever before,” Dwane said. “You used to show up on campus and there were no options. Overall, there’s now more flexibility to accommodate students, how they learn, how they want to learn and how they want to consume materials.”
These days, you may be able to buy your textbooks and supplies for less than those average numbers of $1,200 and $1,244 a year. You just need to evaluate your options and answer some questions. Do you prefer print or digital? If physical, can you rent that book? If digital, are you okay reading the book in a PDF format via downloading it?
Approach textbooks wisely and you may be able to save thousands of dollars throughout your college years.
Powered by Facebook Comments