Students learn how to save bucks on books
Published: Sunday, August 19, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 20, 2012 06:08
According to College Board, the average student will pay about $1,668 for one year of textbooks, with individual books costing as much as $200. With financial aid sources, like Bright Futures, decreasing and tuition rising, students are trying to combat these costs by looking for cheaper options.
With many ways to purchase in the textbook market, students are starting to spend less on books than in the past, according to the National Association of College Stores.
One option is renting. Online websites, such as Chegg.com and Amazon.com allow students to search through a large database of books and compare prices from other sites. Amazon.com claims that students who rent with them can save up to 70 percent off the purchase price of the book.
For students like Jenna Montana, a junior sports and exercise science major, renting is a viable option because she won’t need the textbook after her classes end.
“I had heard a lot about Chegg and things like that and I thought to myself, ‘Am I going to need a chemistry book for the rest of my life? Am I going to need a physical science book for the rest of my life?’ I could rent it and then not have to worry about selling it back,” Montana said. “It was the most logical choice for me.”
Students can also rent their textbooks at the UCF Barnes and Noble bookstore and save anywhere from 45 to 50 percent off the sticker price of their books.
Renting does have its drawbacks. Like a library book, students have to return their textbooks by a certain date or face a late fee. Students may also face additional fees if the book is returned damaged or if they lose it.
In a poll conducted by the Central Florida Future, of 36 freshmen, 25 said that they were purchasing their textbooks used. Students can buy used books from the campus bookstore, other area bookstores or websites such as BarnesandNoble.com and Amazon.com. This option allows students to own the text while paying about 25 percent less than the book’s sticker price.
“I’m a lover for books, and it pains me to rent. I’m still able to resell my books after using them. I will also be saving at least $400 to $500 this way,” said Kaithlyn Pinnock, a sophomore mechanical and Aerospace Engineering double major.
In an attempt to face competitors, the campus bookstore offers price-matching services on books from any other brick-and-mortar textbook store.
“Besides beating the price by the dollar, they also have a complete database of the courses and professors at UCF and what books they specifically need,” Montana said. “They are going to be the number one resource to get UCF specific editions of textbooks, which a lot of professors are requiring now.”
The sooner the students purchase their books, the more likely they will be able to find a used copy at a discounted price, says Steven Way, manager of the UCF Bookstore.
“To save money, shop early. Used copies are priced 25 percent less than new and are the first to go. Students can order online before the start of the semester and considerably increase their chance of buying a used copy,” Way said.
Students who choose to buy their books can resell them to stores to get back a portion of what they paid for the book. The bookstore gives students up to 50 percent back on their books. The amount of money students can receive depends on the quality and demand of the book. The time of year also dictates the sell-back value.
“The bookstore will buy back books any day of the year; however, the best time to get the most cash back is before and after the weeks during finals," Way said.
Students can also visit www.ShopUCF.com, click on the “Get Cash” icon and find out if their books are eligible for the buy-back program.