You’ve moved into your new place, paid for tuition and your first month of rent and maybe even scrounged up some money for groceries. You think you’re all set for the fall semester, but have you bought your textbooks yet?
In a January 2014 survey from the U.S. Public Interest Research group, it was found that textbook prices have jumped nearly 82 percent from what they were in 2002. Students are now paying, on average, $1,200 for textbooks every year. Some students even skip buying them altogether, which in turn could hurt their performance in class.
Even with these economic odds stacked against students, there are ways to beat the statistics, be successful and save money, all by doing some simple research. The Central Florida Future has compiled a list of some of the best student-recommended options for buying textbooks without completely breaking the bank:
Bigwords.com: Bigwords.com allows users to search for books by title, author or ISBN. Once books are selected, the engine “compares every combination of items and stores, calculating the shipping and promotions available for each,” according to its website. It will then select the cheapest combination and present the buyer with options, such as rentals and international edition books. It also lets users take into account potential buyback prices, which help determine whether renting books or buying and reselling them is the most economic option.
Chegg: Chegg not only specializes in online textbook rentals, it also offers tutoring, homework help and internship-matching opportunities.
“I was told about Chegg from a professor back at my old community college,” said Karla Jimenez, a junior finance major. “She gave me a list of the books and said that we can acquire them much cheaper online from sites like Chegg and Amazon, so that’s what I’ve been doing since.”
Jimenez said that when using Chegg in the past, she has generally saved anywhere between 60 to 80 percent per book.
“A book that would normally cost me $200 new, I can rent for about $60,” she said. “I usually get three or four books, so that saves me a couple hundred dollars each semester.”
Half.com: Half.com is a branch of eBay, but differs from its parent company in that it is dedicated solely to selling textbooks, music, movies and video games.
Users can search for any textbook and pick from a multitude of sellers. They can also list their books for sale on the site at no cost, however, the company takes a percentage of each sale as commission.
SlugBooks.com: Slugbooks.com is another website that compiles textbook prices snagged from online shops, such as Chegg, Amazon and BookRenter, and provides students with the cheapest available combination. Users can either search for books by school and class or by ISBN.
UCF Textbook Exchange: The UCF Textbook Exchange Facebook page boasts more than 9,400 members and exists as a platform for UCF students to sell and buy textbooks from each other, often for half price or less.
Other students, such as Kelsey Cameron, said they are able to type their book title into any online search engine and find it in PDF format for free.
“Sometimes you can get them in a file [electronic publication] from online book companies, [and] then I upload it to my Nook and read for free from there,” said Cameron, a sophomore computer engineering major. “[I also] ask the professor if they have a free PDF, or I type the name of the textbook [and] then ‘PDF.’”
With hundreds of websites, book stores and other options for buying textbooks out there, junior English literature major Michael Morgan says your best bet for finding the cheapest textbooks is just to shop around and do the research.
“Obviously the easy thing to do is get all the books at the same place, but if you’re looking for the cheapest, the best thing to do is look around at various places,” Morgan said. “So basically be thrifty, shop around and do your homework.”
Bookstores Near Campus:
» CB&S: 12140 Collegiate Way, Orlando
» Textbook Solutions: 3402 Technological Ave. Ste. 208, Orlando
Danielle Hendrix is the News Editor for the Central Florida Future. Follow her on Twitter at @dhendrix21 or email her at DanielleH@CentralFloridaFuture.com.