It ain’t easy being a broke college kid. Having completed my first two semester of college, I feel like I have some personal pointers when it comes to saving money in the book buying biz. I was surprised to find out that many of my college friends were unaware of the many thrifty methods to save money in buying textbooks, so I’ve compiled a list of some methods I’ve used when buying those costly class essentials.
1. Your university’s LIBRARY!
For many students, the library is their personal low-key study hub, printing press, or nap nook. I’m not saying this is a bad thing; however, more often than not, the library is used for purposes that don’t involve borrowing books. It’s included in your tuition! Take advantage of it! Last semester, I had a haiku book and history book that I needed for an English composition class. My peers were chumps and went out to buy the book—I did a quick library search online, jotted down the call numbers, borrowed the books, and promptly returned them when I was finished with the books. Free beats any Amazon price— I saved myself a cool $38.38! The only expense was some time and effort on my part.
Another tip: A friend of mine needed book that was a collection of Socrates’ works, and instead of going out to buy the book, she searched online for PDF and word document texts and borrowed individual stories and books that contained the same stories.
2. Your town’s library!
If you are fortunate enough to visit home every once in a while, or even commute to school; consider borrowing books from your town’s library too. Why pay $9.00 for Atlas Shrugged? Try asking friends and family back home to borrow books for you and ship them to you in their next care package. (Do people even send those? Mine sure as hell don’t…)
3. Digital Books
Invest in a cheap e-book reader or tablet, or consider getting books on your laptop.
You can RENT digital copies of textbooks and books nowadays! This comes especially useful when you have a course that is primarily textbook based. Instead of flipping back and forth to the index and chapters of the physical book to find answers to specific questions, digital formatting allows you to do a quick Command or CTRL + F to look up keywords and phrases, bringing you straight to the pages and sections that may contain what you’re looking for.
4. Facebook groups
Although Facebook is now a social wasteland for old people, it’s still an admittedly practical social medium to connect with people; especially students from your university. Try searching and joining your school’s official Facebook group, and browse through the sub-groups within it for Free, For Sale, and Book Exchange groups. Since everyone needs a .edu account from the school to join (for official university groups, anyway) it’s pretty low-risk to buy books off of people. I just bought an entire class’ worth of reading material for $20 from a student who took the class last year.
5. Illegal methods (at your own discretion)
I want to start off by saying I don’t want to be held liable for promoting the same methods you probably already use to download music, however, yes—you can find “free” books uploaded by internet denizens. I have yet to encounter any issues but we all know that the web is a cesspool.