This topic gets a little dirty, so let’s start with the real hard truth right up front.
The hard truth is that when purchasing college textbooks, we must always keep in mind that our school is a business that is trying to squeeze as much money out of us as possible. Period.
Colleges apply ‘the money squeeze’ to our wallets in a variety of ways. However, the most blatant example of ‘the money squeeze’ is the college textbook scam.
Let’s think about this objectively. How else would one describe an establishment that forces an individual to purchase items, some of which they do not even need, at an inflated cost.
In this case let’s say the inflated cost is $46. Next, the establishment leaves that individual with little choice but to sell the product back to them only a few months later for a fraction of the original cost. In this case let’s say the buy back cost is $11.
Then, the establishment continues the process by reselling that same product as used to a second individual for slightly under the new price. In this case let’s say the used cost is $34.
Finally, the establishment buys back the used product from the second individual for $8 and then resells it for the standard used cost of $34.
This process goes on and on until the product is used so much that it is unable to be resold. The only way to describe this entire scheme is by labeling what it is; a scam.
Understanding this is the key to unlocking how to buy books in college.
Colleges don’t have force students into the textbook scam. They could easily buy books back from students at a rate of about 50% of the original cost and still make a nice profit when they resell the book as used. But they don’t.
They get greedy. Because after all a college is a business. That is why every student has to get smart and really learn how to buy books in college.
However, getting smart about how to buy books in college isn’t always easy because there are many misconceptions about it.
The biggest misconception is that some students believe it is a good idea to buy every book they may need before each class meets for the first time.
This misconception of rushing to the bookstore in an attempt to avoid crowds or impress a professor by buying all the books ahead of time should be eliminated for many reasons.
First of all, just because a book is on a list for a particular class does not mean the professor won’t change their mind about using it.
Also, if the new book comes in a clear wrapping which we remove, it is next to impossible to get a full refund even if we return it the day after we purchased it with a receipt.
These are the hard fact of learning how to buy books in college.
Finally, the college textbook scam reaches its peak when students are forced to purchase books we don’t even need.
Colleges like to make multiple books mandatory for certain classes while the professors of those classes only integrate one or two of them into the syllabus.
That’s a clear deception colleges use to sell more books. Overall, to combat purchasing unneeded books, and fight back against the college textbook scam, there are five main book buying tips every student must follow.
5 Tips For College Book Buying
Tip #1: The Delayed Book Buying Technique
Any more than two thick textbooks for one class is too much material for a professor to realistically teach in one semester.
To avoid being scammed by buying extra books, only buy the book the professor talks about the most on the first day of class.
Don’t worry about missing the chance to buy the other books needed for that class, because most bookstores stock extra copies until about halfway through the semester.
Using this delayed book buying technique will allow us to feel out the class before purchasing all of the books the school says the class requires.
After all, just because the school requires certain books for a class, doesn’t mean the professor is going to use them.
Tip #2: Buy The Right Book
Only buy the books that are the most focused on the course. Here’s a quick question to help figure out which book will be the focus of our next class.
If we could only buy one of the following three books for a class, which one is most likely going to be the best bet?
Book A: A thick, hard cover, generic $75 textbook that weights five pounds.
Book B: A $27 soft cover book that was written by the professor.
Book C: A $40 package of two small handbooks and a thin workbook with a CD.
Answer: The odds are that the college forced our professor to assign books A and C, which will be skimmed through at best. Book B is the one we absolutely want to buy, read, and study from cover to cover.
Because really, what professor isn’t going to favor their own book over someone else’s?
Tip #3: Avoid Late Recommended Booked
Don’t rush out and buy any books the professor casually recommends a few days or weeks into the class. Professors do this to help sell books for their colleagues, who return the favor in their classes.
These late ‘recommended books’ are usually just recommendations at best.
However, if worse comes to worse and we actually need a ‘recommended book’ for a few days, we can simply find a classmate who purchased it and ask them to borrow it for a night, or we can hit the library and take it out ourselves.
The worst case scenario is that we purchase it online and have it shipped overnight.
In the long run we’ll save a lot a money this way and we won’t have a bunch of ‘recommended books’ laying around at the end of each year.
Tip #4: Rely On The Library
The Library has just about every book we’ll need for every class. That is where we should be able to find reference copies of every textbook, as well as most other books and media for our classes.
Most schools keep these books available for students just like us who either; did not buy, lost, or had their books stolen. The library is our friend as long as we don’t go there in a panic at the last minute.
Instead, if we request assistance from the library staff in a timely manner, they will most likely be able to help us with whatever we need.
Tip #5: The Two Most Popular Questions About Buy Books In College
Question #1: Should I buy used books?
Yes, buy used books whenever possible. Used books are cheaper and more often than not, the last person who used it wrote helpful notes in the margins and highlighted key terms or sections.
Basic Question #2: Which books should I keep?
After the semester is over and it comes time to sell our books back, we should not sell back the key books from the classes within our major.
Rather than getting back only 10%–20% of the original cost of the books, it is better to keep them for future reference.
At the very least they will look impressive on a bookshelf in an office someday.
That’s ultimately how to buy books in college while tapping into our inborn power. This will bring us closer to living as the most complete version of ourselves immediately.
How To Buy Books In College Affordably Now
– Written by Motivational Joe