The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Students have options when buying books

By Jesse Lopez/reporter

This semester is nearly over, but it’s not too soon to start looking for ways to save on textbooks for the next.

According to the National Association of College Stores, the average college student is paying $600-$1,200 a semester for books. With many students working to pay other bills, this is a big part of their income. But students can find ways to keep more in their wallets.

“I worked a part-time job so I could be a full-time student,” said former NW student Nena Kent. “I didn’t have much for anything after I paid my bills. And knowing that I had to pay at least $400 or more on books always worried me.”

The thing students should do is contact their professors. Many of them understand the hardships students face.

“Ask your professor if older editions will do,” NW philosophy instructor Ebbie Smith suggests. “You can often save money by purchasing editions that are one or two years older.”

Often the difference between editions is very small, a new forward or reordered chapters. Also, some teachers may say the book is not needed.

If students do need the book, they can look into other avenues for getting them at a better price.

“Talk with your classmates,” Smith also advised. “They may be taking a class that you will need to take, and you can purchase books from them. Communication is key.”

NW student Daniela Zuniga usually relies on the campus bookstore, but she does shop around. 

“I often buy my books the second week of class at the bookstore,” she said. “Sometimes I get them online if I can find them cheaper.”

Websites like Amazon, Booksprice.com, Half.com, Chegg.com and AbeBooks.com offer the option to buy used books. Another cost-saving option through Amazon is downloads of the books for tablets, which are often cheaper and save students from having to carrying several books around. For example, a new sociology book is $180, but the Kindle copy is $126. Although $54 may not seem like a lot, the savings add up.

“I prefer to use Amazon Student,” said NW English instructor Erin Dunbar. “It’s the best of both worlds. You can buy new, used or rent. Oftentimes, two-day shipping is free for Prime or Amazon Student.”

Amazon Student is $39 per year for up to four years with six months of free shipping, but the savings on shipping and prices could deflect the yearly fee.

With renting, another consideration, students can get a college algebra book for the semester for less than $20 whereas buying a new book on Amazon is $157. Joining Amazon Student or Amazon Prime, which can be shared, gives a four-year membership that allows free two-day shipping. Books can be returned for free.

Renting textbooks also saves the hassle of the buy back. At the end of the semester, students often discover they can’t sell back their books because the bookstore may have too many copies or a new edition was released.

Students can check sites like Craigslist, email students on campus, take classes with friends to split the cost of books or stop by their campus library to see if it has the books available to use.

Saving money on books can help the bottom line, but the earlier a student starts looking the better, faculty and students agree.

Donate to The Collegian

Your donation will support the student journalists of Tarrant County College. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Collegian