How should you buy textbooks this year?

bookstores (1)

Textbooks can be extremely expensive, there’s no getting around that. But what options do students have to find their textbooks for a cheaper price? As far as price point goes, there are many reasons why certain books are more expensive than others.

For some fields it can be the monopoly certain publishers have, which allow them to raise the price of the books without fear of competition. For others, it can be to feed a bottom line that must be met to keep the publisher in business. This is increasingly true in some field that are incredibly specific, such as many history textbooks like: A History of Evangelism in the 1400s. This is a very specific textbook and can be difficult to sell to libraries, which will then cause the price to rise as the few who need that book must then support the bottom line. There are a myriad of other reasons that can cause a price influx or other issues for students. Realistically, these price issues are out of a student’s hands. So what can be done about it?

Of course when a teacher releases a list of reading that must be done you can look to alternative sellers like Amazon. There are often sales during the back to school season or simply better prices on used textbooks. The Campus Store also has a decreased price for used books as you can return your books at the end of a term in an attempt to get some money back. There is also E-Book’s.

E-Book’s can be a great way to utilize technology to lessen the load of your readings. It can be fairly difficult hauling around three fairly large textbooks over the course of a long day, in that case E-Book’s are an often cheaper and lighter solution. As the files can be read on your computer, tablet, or phone. While the price doesn’t vary as much as one might think due to the expenses having less to do with the physical production and distribution and more macro concepts than that. However, every small decrease in the price can be helpful.

There are also groups on Facebook dedicated to selling and buying used textbooks for students, even groups that specify per program. In these you can post a personal ad stating which program you’re in and which class you’re currently looking to find textbooks for.

Make sure that  you have the correct edition for the textbook you are buying if it isn’t directly from the campus store. Professors will often want to keep the most up to date edition as the text that is studied in class. Having an out-of-date edition will often mean that all of your pages will not line up with the suggested readings at the very least, a worst case scenario would be you having a large amount of misinformation that was corrected. These kinds of mistakes can be rectified by simply making sure you have the correct edition of your textbook.

Notably this year the Ontario government released nearly 200 free ebooks that can be accessed through, these are only for some of the most popular courses being taken in Ontario, but it is definitely worth the time invested.

While paying full price for a textbook can be painful there are quite a few benefits. A full price textbook from the campus store will obviously be in perfect repair, and it can be retrieved without having to leave campus. It can also be sold back to the store for some percentage of the original price, which is usually dependent on how many students are going to be taking the class next year which can make highly specific classes a hard sell.


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