While saving money causes you to navigate the
murky waters of buying cheap college books, you may still have some questions
on how to get the best deal, or whether or not to go for the best deal.
There are many pros to bargain shopping, but its important to consider the cons of purchasing cheap or used books as well, in order to be the best steward of your money.
Since I'm a huge saver, I always question the necessity of every purchase. Sometimes it's my weakness; but mostly, it works to my advantage. When it comes to buying books for college, professors and educators strongly warn you to get the newest edition.
Is this always necessary?
My first semester, my U.S. Politics professor assigned a book that cost $92. I looked around for a used copy, and unfortunately none were available as its 12th edition (the one assigned), had just been published.
Following a very risky hunch, I searched for the previous edition online, just to see how much they were being sold for. To my surprise and confusion, I found a copy for twelve cents. Yes, twelve cents! With shipping and handling being less than two dollars, this would be a steal!
I do have to admit, I still had some apprehension about buying the previous edition. However, the hesitation was not enough to completely prevent me from ordering the book immediately. I figured that I would take the risk and look up anything that we discussed in class that the book did not cover.
Thankfully, my purchase worked
out quite well. The page numbers were slightly off, but when I compared my book
to a friend’s new book, I saw that the only difference was that the pictures
were in color and the sample graphs were larger and to date.
With certain subjects, updated content might be necessary – for example, new discoveries in the scientific field, or updated technology and software programs in the computer/programming field. However, we see these updates more commonly in general education courses, areas where such updates are seemingly unnecessary = more money for textbook publishers.
If you will be doing a lot of work directly from the book, check and make sure that the questions in both editions are the same.
You can find cheap college books for sale in many places on the internet. The trick is trying to sift the real deals from the too-good-to-be-true-so-it-isn't deals.
First, check and make sure the website is credible. Next, make sure the seller you're buying from is legitimate. You can do this by checking the seller's buyer feedback and ratings.
With that said, be aware: most major websites are good about verifying merchants and sellers by completing sufficient background checks and eliminating scams, but that doesn't mean that you can't get ripped off.
Some of your assigned textbooks may have online components that will cost extra money. Some professors make online components necessary; others do not. Be sure to check exactly what is required for your course.
Online components can include A/V manipulatives, study help, and homework assignments, and even tests. Most of the time when you purchase this service, what you are physically buying is a piece of cardboard with a single-use password on it.
You can find this out by either checking the product description or by simply messaging the seller for more information.
When searching for cheap college books, it's important to keep in mind that there are downfalls to successfully finding a deal. Cutting textbook costs does requires time and research – it's easy to see why some people purchase textbooks full price. Although it is convenient, never underestimate what a little time investment can save you.
Navigating the homeschool high school years and wondering how to pay for college can cause most of us to feel a little uncertain.
Have you gone through, or are you currently going through the college admission experience with your homeschooling high school student? Got any money or time-saving college tips?
Do you have any tips or words of wisdom for other homeschooling parents or homeschool students?
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