Getting a degree is expensive and it is not only the annual fees that make up this sum. There are all sorts of extra costs and textbooks are one of the costliest expenses students have. A lot of students might end up not having enough fees for all the additional things they need to buy for their studies. Not being able to afford the right textbooks could mean failing a subject and not getting a degree. There are, however many ways to save money on textbooks. Below are a few tips and tricks students can do to save money and still get the education they deserve.
Tricks to save money on textbooks
- Look for sales
Bookstores might sell textbooks at reduced prices so look out for any sales or promotions they might be having. Textbook prices might increase during peak times like at the start of new semesters. Try finding out which books you need for the semester ahead of time in order to miss the peak times students usually need textbooks. Stores also sometimes have special deals for students.
- Compare stores
Many bookstores stock university and college textbooks and not all of them sell it at the same price. Some bookstores are well known to be cheaper. Ask around on campus to find out which stores students in the area prefer. Going to the first store you see might mean paying a lot more. Shop around and compare prices just like you would when buying groceries.
- Download E-Books
E-books work out cheaper than paper textbooks because of costs less to manufacture and almost nothing to distribute online. Consider buying an e-book reader or download an app for it on your iPhone or Android device. The initial cost of an e-reader will cost you less in the long run.
- Ask friends and family
Textbooks used in universities and colleges change every year. They might start prescribing a new textbook altogether or a later edition. But there is a chance that you could ask a friend or family member who used the same textbook you need now. Most people never use their textbooks after getting their degree and would not mind giving or lending their old books to you.
- Buy second-hand textbooks
Many students sell their textbooks from previous years to get some extra pocket money. Look around on campus for adds or ask older students if they have textbooks they want to sell. Second-hand textbooks are sold for a lot cheaper and you can save a lot this way.
- Shop for books online
There are many online platforms for selling second-hand things and many that sell just second-hand books. You might even find an online store that offers new books at less than other stores. Some textbooks and reading material may even be available online for free in pdf form. This is especially true for old literature books that are still studied in universities. Classics from Shakespeare, Dickens and many more can be sourced online as e-books completely free.
- Use the campus library
The campus library usually has all the textbooks students need. Use the library directory to search for the textbooks you need or ask for help from a librarian. You will need to take the books out when you need it. Plan ahead to make sure someone else does not take out the book. Some sections in the library even keep books that cannot be taken out. This means that you will need to study in the library before test dates.
- Summarise textbooks
Another way to get access to textbook work without spending money is to summarise the pages or chapters you need to study for a test. You do not need all the information in a textbook you only need the facts so summarising the book works well. Summaries are easier to study from that from the textbook directly.
In desperate times textbooks can be copied to save money. Just make sure of the copyright of the textbook before doing so. Some academic material may be copied if it is to be used for educational purposes and but may not be resold. Reselling copied work is illegal and can surmount into costly court cases and lawsuits. When copying work skips unnecessary pages like cover pages and lengthy indexes or tables of contents. Some chapters are skipped completely, depending on the course material. Copy only the chapter, sections and pages you really need to save even more.
- Join a study group
When you really can’t afford a textbook you can join a study group or study with a friend. Students are by nature communal creatures and do not mind helping one another out with study work. Studying in a group has many benefits and are a good way for students to teach each other the work. What makes studying in the group so effective is the fact that the work is repeated orally as well as being read. This means more of the work sinks in.
The above are 10 ways students can save money or even get textbooks for free. Other ways to get textbooks without using cash is to open an account at a book store or to take or a student loan. These will have to pay back at a later stage though.