Textbooks can be a huge expense to an already expensive school year. There are pros of renting instead of buying and vice versa, but there are other options besides those two to save some money. Here are some things you should consider when it comes to acquiring textbooks.
Reselling or book swap
In most cases, once you’ve finished a class you don’t plan on going back and rereading that textbook. The good news is, there are probably other students who need to use this textbook because they have to take the same class. By selling it, you can make at least some of the money back that you spent buying it.
Another option is swapping it for another book of a class you still need to take. This way you get rid of the book for the class you already took and get a textbook that you need all at once. Just make sure that the class is still using the same textbook and the same edition of it.
If there is not an option to physically rent the book, there might be an option to rent it online. Online versions are usually cheaper and have some pros that a real textbook does not. If you’re renting a textbook online, you don’t have to worry about ruining it, losing it, or giving it back. When the rental period is over, the textbook just expires rather than having to worry about returning it. Another convenient thing about an online version is that you can open it anywhere without needing to worry about lugging your entire textbook (or multiple) wherever you go.
Making sure you need it
Something I learned from years of being a student is that just because there is a textbook written in the syllabus does not mean you need it. Most professors will tell you in the first class whether you need the textbook, if it’s highly recommended, or purely optional. It’s a good idea to wait until the first class to go textbook buying so you don’t buy what you don’t need.
Another way to get some insight on whether you need the textbook is using your resources. Asking people who have had the class in the past or doing some research online about the class can give you information on the textbook. You may also find cheaper versions of it or other resources that could help you with the class.