Tips for buying books

As if college tuition wasn't enough, two times a year students are pounded by the costs to simply have the chance to succeed in the classes we pay so much for. Yes, I am talking about the dreaded proccess (heartache, injustice, mockery) of buying books. At the end of the day there are not many ways around coughing up a lot of money each semester but here are a few tips to help cut costs and make the whole process easier.

1. Slow Play the Process - Often each teacher for each course has a different way of presenting the material and different expectations from their students. The books listed on Seanet for each class often lead you to buy the most expensive and latest version of the text needed in that class, where in reality many teachers don't require that version (or even reccomend it in some situations). By waiting until you can email your teacher, get the syllabus, first attend the class, or any combination of the three you can make sure you're buying the appropriate book. This also works out because in most classes you can get by without your book for at least a week which is generally about the time it takes to order a book online and have it shipped to you. And for the books you can only buy at the bookstore this will generally cut down the time you spend waiting in line.

2. Don't buy books at the on campus bookstore - It is ridiculous how much they charge for used books. It is absolutely ridiculous how much they charge for new books. Simple as that. We are often forced to buy books from the bookstore because they are a UNCW edition, especially with Lab Manuals and related materials but for those books that aren't UNCW custom texts, try to find them on Amazon or somewhere online. If the book is available online it will NEVER be more expensive than it is in the bookstore.

3. Find out what your friends are taking - If you know your friend is in Calculus and you are taking Calculus next semester, make sure you get your hands on that book next semester before somebody else does. You can bargain, barter, trade or whatever you need to do but that is a great way to cut costs. Often you can even trade books if there is a mutual need between friends.

4. Sell your books yourself - I understand that it is very easy to take all your books at one time and get them off your hands at the bookstore. With that being said if that is what you do you are losing a lot of money each and every semester. The same way they make you pay way too much to buy them, they pay you way too little to sell them back. If you don't believe me look what your more expensive books are selling for on Amazon and then see how much the bookstore is willing to pay. There is no doubt it is a more complicated process but it is NOT a hard process. Make an Amazon account, post your books, ship them at your local post office, and let the money get deposited directly into your bank account.

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