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The Rise of textbook costs: Time to say when
Tip: Save hundreds by renting your textbooks.
Is it worth paying $150 for that math book?
- A book that you will not use again after the end of the quarter.
- A book that you can sell back to the bookstore for $20, if you are lucky enough that a new edition isn’t released.
Sure it's one of the worst things about college, which is why some students will go through desperate measures to combat the outrageous costs of these textbooks.
Some of the cheaper, but not always legal tactics students have used include:
- Checking an older version of the textbook out in the school library.
This method is very possible. Older versions are nearly the same as their newer counterparts, with maybe the difference of different page numbers, but in some cases the new edition is the same word for word.
- Scanning the textbooks contents, and then returning the book.
Some students have used computer scanners or have taken pictures with a digital camera of the textbook’s content and then merely returned the book for full refund. Now while this is a lengthy process, it gives the student a free digital form of the book, which they can easily sell to fellow classmates if they so desire.
- Sharing books with classmates
This is a common practice where two or more individuals buy a textbook together and then have study sessions together.
The serious money maker for college bookstores is the textbook buyback scheme.
Here the bookstore will buy back your used textbook, usually for about 10-25% of the original price, and sell it to another student for nearly the full price.
Certain online services are trying to combat this textbook monopoly.
Textbook exchange sites and other cheaper online alternatives like Amazon.com or Half.com offer a place to buy textbooks for a cheaper price.
Other methods to try and reduce the costs of textbooks include litigation. Two students in Florida are in the process of suing a collegiate bookstore chain and their school over the prices of used books.
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