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tokmom
08-26-2008, 09:47 PM
I know there are some current college students and I hope you can help me out. It's been a few years since my college days and my other college aged son, doesn't seem to have the expense my freshman son is having at a different school.

It's books. He spent over 500 for a semester of books. Seems rather high to me!? Are there ways to cut the costs of books? He bought as many used as he could, but some were only new so he had no choice. I told him he will turn them in and recoup some monies, but it sure would be nice to cut the costs in the beginning.

Thanks for any ideas!

ladyjessica
08-26-2008, 09:52 PM
Many times if students can get the ISBN numbers from the required textbooks, they can go online to amazon.com or half.com or a number of other websites and get them much, much cheaper than buying them in the school bookstore.

scout52
08-26-2008, 10:03 PM
I was in college from 95-99, and post grad 99-02 and the cost of books sounds about right. Some semesters were a bit higher depending on the professor and his love of extra books. (esp for politicial science concentration)

tokmom
08-26-2008, 10:04 PM
Many times if students can get the ISBN numbers from the required textbooks, they can go online to amazon.com or half.com or a number of other websites and get them much, much cheaper than buying them in the school bookstore.

Thanks for the tip. I hope he can get next semesters ISBN numbers early so we can look for books. It would be nice to get them a bit cheaper and then recoup some monies too!

tokmom
08-26-2008, 10:07 PM
prices have gone up since my day! I think I need to look at it in semester terms and not quarters. Maybe that's why it seems so steep.

knitgal
08-26-2008, 10:28 PM
Yeah, that's pretty much a standard amount that I paid for my textbooks, but there are a few ways of cutting that down.

One thing I started doing in my final years was stop buying some of the books right away. I found that some professors barely even used a textbook that they listed and if they did start using it later I could buy it then, OR take it out of the library, or just read it there.

shortnsweetly
08-26-2008, 10:41 PM
I'm in college now and find that amazon.com can be cheaper, but also a lot less reliable. I ordered my textbooks from there last semester and waited almost two weeks before only two arrived. I ended up having to get them from the bookstore anyway, and I was behind on my assignments. I find it best to go to class the first day, find out what the professor actually wants you to have, and then just get as many used as you can. Sometimes facebook.com has a good marketplace where students will sell their old books cheap or even trade. Good luck!

Duessa
08-26-2008, 10:51 PM
yes, unfortunately, that is about right for books. It all depends on major, professor choice, and timeing but 500 is not outlandish in the scheme of things. Amazon will work, if you can get the titles, authors, and/or isbns EARLY, really EARLY! can take 2 -4 weeks and not reliable! I hate it but your most reliable option is the bookstores. I do tend to wait until after my first classes, not that I have a choice! stupid overages don't get sent until middle of the first week! This allows me to find out if the book list is correct, if there is anything extra, if something won't be needed until after christmas, etc, etc. it is a terrible thing that books are so pricey but it's not like you can really do anything about it. I'm sorry. Oh, another thing to remember, if it's a lit major, always check those anthologies and NEVER sell them back! I have avoided purchasing many other books because they were already in anthologies from past semesters!

HollyP
08-26-2008, 11:22 PM
Buy the international editions!!!!!!!! With the ISBN you can find the international editions much much cheaper. I just bought an A&P book for $60 w/ 2 day shipping. My lab partner paid around 140ish for the same book. The only difference we can find is mine is paper back. I was able to get all the texts I needed for this semester in the international editions. I saved well over $300! Just make sure that the seller has good feedback and is not selling a cheap black and white copy. This happened to a girl in my Ethics class . She literally got a photocopy of the book in a cheap binder.

Duessa
08-27-2008, 12:03 AM
Where on earth do you get international editions? what subject matter does this work for? I am in Education and I'm just not sure there would be theses books there. All of my Ed books are always the newest edition or a new author or a new book so they are like 60+ no matter what AND I end up keeping them because it's my future job.

tokmom
08-27-2008, 12:30 AM
He's going to be a nursing major, so not sure if there is anything to keep other than anatomy/physiology books.
Ugh on the bookstores, but the tips are awesome,thanks!

tokmom
08-27-2008, 12:31 AM
I want to know this too. He's going to need an A&P book down the line.
Details, please! :)

tarrentella
08-27-2008, 05:28 AM
It is normally worth getting a few key text books but then using library edditions for the rest of them. Like somebody here said, often the tutors only refere to the text books a handfl of times, or they are suggested reading, somthing that can be done just as well with library books.
Get him to have a word with his school library and your local library as many of them now do special academic passes that meen you have access to the catalouges of several different school's libraries across the state (or even country depending on the scheme) and you can organise transferes of books you need. Putting ads on School bulletin boards (iether in real life or if there is an online equivelent) can be good, as it can help you find ex-students old books.

In my post grad class, i has worked out that some of us have one book whilst another person has somthing else from the reading list, and we are happy to share and swap the books which keeps costs down. If he has a few people he gets on well with or regularly studies with on his course then that sort of book-sharing can realy help.

Sadly though books are expensive. I have a 80 (aprox $160) biology book and a couple which are only tiny but cost around $100 each. My freinds have the same. On the other hand one of my most used and favoured books only cost 15 ($30).

Duessa
08-27-2008, 06:07 AM
idk about libraries. Ours has a very short period of time to take out books like that and you can't take them back out for a while and then if they get recalled on you you are done! And there is no way on EARTH I could share a book. What if the other person needs it when you have time to study? What if they lose it or something? I can tell you one thing a nursing major isn't cheap. be prepared. At my school they all have to buy uniforms and pda's.

lizardknits
08-27-2008, 09:16 AM
also www.campusi.com (http://www.campusi.com) is also a good place to get discounted books. If he knows ahead of time what he is taking, sometimes other students will sell their books to classmates for a cheaper rate. For example, I got a used intro biology book for 90 bucks from a classmate. Students will post info on bulletin boards or facebook if they are wanting to sell their used books.

lizardknits
08-27-2008, 09:20 AM
Where on earth do you get international editions? what subject matter does this work for? I am in Education and I'm just not sure there would be theses books there. All of my Ed books are always the newest edition or a new author or a new book so they are like 60+ no matter what AND I end up keeping them because it's my future job.
i hear that they sell them on half.com
Im in phisiology right now, so I completely understand what you are saying.

nephthys8
08-27-2008, 10:08 AM
I graduated from undergrad a year ago and heard about people spending $500 or more quite often. Luckily, I only had this happen to me one semester out of eight. I went to a smaller school, so I would email the professors in the summer for book lists and order early from Amazon.com. I used sellers that were rated well and only ever had a problem with one book. I highly recommend going that route.

lizardknits
08-27-2008, 10:34 AM
lucky
my books werent so costly this semester
it was only about 300 bucks (which is actually for 6 classes, but only five books)

SunshineGurrrl
08-27-2008, 10:48 AM
Sometimes professors will send their booklist in to the bookstore early and it will be available online through the college bookstore which would be on the college website (at least this was the case for my school) from there as long as you have the class number and section you can find the books and ISBN #s. I would definitely use half.com (saved me tons) or see if people you know have taken the class and would let you borrow for the semester.
If there's no option but to buy, and some professor are ridiculous with getting their books, then at the end of the semester right before finals the school bookstores will usually give you more money to buyback than you would get for after finals.

vaknitter
08-27-2008, 11:19 AM
$500 sounds about right - when I went off to college I had to up the credit limit on my credit card to be able to charge one sememsters worth of books and supplies. After my freshman year I learned about e-campus.com and barnes&noble.com where books are MUCH cheaper and both sell used editions as well. Then of course, I always waited until after classes started to see if I really needed the books. I did have a lot of reference books that I needed to use and keep, but there were some where profs would list 4 books and I barely would crack 1 of them. We also had a dept medical library where you could sit and study with a book and/or check it out if needed.
I would not rely on bookstore buy backs to help you recoup any costs. If the prof changes the booklist, a new edition comes out, or if that class is not being offered the following semester you get zilch. And even when they do buy them back it is usually less than 50% of you paid. I took calculus over the summer and HAD to have the book b/c we did problems out of it every night. $140 new and then after a 6wk course the bookstore offered me $65 !!
You said he's in nursing - if he takes a full dissection course in Gross Anatomy I highly recommend the Netter anatomy books over Grays. One of the best books I ever bought !

scout52
08-27-2008, 01:20 PM
I used the library to cut down costs. Definitely have him find out what the library rules are. I was able to take some textbooks out the entire semester with 3 checkouts and turning it in a week late. which is much much cheaper than actually paying for the book. This saved me hundreds that last 2 years of college. I did this as well in post grad.

Jan in CA
08-27-2008, 01:44 PM
If you buy books elsewhere be aware that you can't return them at the end of the year. Buy the books that he wants to keep elsewhere if you can and the ones he wants to return at the school bookstore.

My oldest daughters undergrad major was molecular biology and the books for that were unreal. To top it off she wanted to keep most of them. :zombie:

BTW..we usually sold books back through Barnes and Noble so you could do that with any books. It's free shipping back to them, too!

I found a few websites, but don't know anything about them. Can't hurt to look.

http://www.campusbooks.com/
http://www.bookbyte.com/browsesubjects.aspx?subjectid=465600
http://www.cheapcollege.com/
http://campusbooks4less.com/index.html

Lucy78green
08-27-2008, 01:56 PM
Haven't read all replies yet, but I used http://www.bookhq.com it searches all online book shops including abebooks.com and amazon to find the cheapest deal - I bought a lot of stuff off Amazon Canada as it was cheaper than Amazon UK

auburnchick
08-27-2008, 10:38 PM
Y'all know that I recently finished college myself.

On only one occasion did I purchase a book through the campus bookstore. Their prices were astronomical, so I refused to order from them.

I ordered my books on ebay, half.com, and amazon. I never had a problem with my orders.

I did learn that you could sometimes buy a previous edition for much cheaper. Often, the changes were so minor in the most recent edition that it wasn't worth the difference in price...it didn't matter anyhow.

I also sold my books on half.com after I was done. I still have a few up for sale, but the good thing is that you don't get charged for putting them up there, and they can pretty much stay up for sale for a long time without you having to worry about them.

ladyjessica
08-27-2008, 10:51 PM
I graduated not too long ago, and the most I ever paid in a semester for books was about $600. I now work at the same college I attended, and one of our workstudy students, a chemistry major, spent over $700 last week on books, and that doesn't include her chemistry supplies, either. It's ridiculous. Students can barely afford food or a place to live. I don't know how textbook companies think they can afford $160 for one book.

As far as selling back books, I know our campus sets up several locations for book buyback that are run through the bookstore, but they also allow 1 or 2 other companies to set up shop off campus where students can sell back books, and many students who have bought books online can usually sell them back at the off-campus locations. I don't know if all schools are like that, but just something to consider.

HamaLee
08-27-2008, 11:27 PM
www.bigwords.com (http://www.bigwords.com) is where it's at. I just bought all my books for this semester there and spent just over HALF of what it would have cost me to get them from my university bookstore. They rate the reliability of all their sellers and I received all my books (via the slowest media mail shipping option) in under 2 weeks.

I like BigWords because it's the easiest way to get the cheapest books. You can create a "bookbag" of all the books you need and then it will auto-search the cheapest way to get them--factoring in shipping costs, etc. You have the option to include international editions (do it! the only difference is the cover art.) You can also include things like "online only" versions of the books or "rentals" where you send the book back at the end of the semester. (I did not choose these options and still got a helluva deal).

You can also return your books to BigWords at the end of the semester...you probably won't get a ton of money for them, but you won't get much from your university bookstore either. Some texts on BigWords come with a "buy back guarantee" as well...

My university was a PITA b/c they purposefully refused to release the ISBN#s or full titles of textbooks when they released the information online. The only reason I can see for this is to make it more difficult for us to buy texts else. Jerks. But between partial titles, authors, edition and publishing years--I got all the correct books.

Good luck for next time! Your university/college bookstore is often the WORST place to buy your books. I HATED undergrad because so many professors put together "course packets" of copyrighted articles and whatnot....you could only purchase them through the bookstore, they cost an arm and a leg, and they were flimsy paper books with plastic bindings that fell apart before the semester was over!

HollyP
08-28-2008, 02:16 AM
I have mostly found the international editions on Ebay. If you type the isbn into a search engine they will show up. That's how I found out about them in the first place. I couldn't believe that a book could be so much cheaper but I did a lot of research before I bought and so far haven't had any problems. All of my sibling have taken advantage of them. My sister was a Soc major, bro#1 history major and bro#2 economics major. You should be able to find them for all subjects.

Tell your son good luck! I am a nursing major too! I'm 4 prerequisites away from applying to nursing school. Hopefully I'll be an "official" nursing student in fall of '09.

Knit4Fun
08-28-2008, 09:26 AM
There's lots of ways to cut costs on books - it's just knowing where it's okay to skimp and what's worth the cost.

First, I'd have him ask around to students who have gone through his program to see what books they said they really needed and used. That saved me THOUSANDS in school. A lot of the recommended books are really basically saying the same thing as the required ones but differently or they are helpful if it's a tough class for you so you need more resources. Know what? If you go to a professor, they will often give you the 411 on what books they plan to use - just be honest and say 'hey, I've got a HUGE book bill this semester so I'm wondering which books are the most important to start with?' - most will be honest.

Also, ask former students if they want to sell their books - often, they will sell you the books for cheaper than you'd pay but more than they'd get back if they sell the book back to the bookstore. Just be sure the editions haven't changed.

Another thing that has worked for me in the past is if he has a friend or two in the same program...split the cost of buying one book and share it - just be sure that you aren't sharing with a book hog so you can get it when you need it! ;-) And then decide who gets the book after the class (e.g. split profits from selling it; one buys it out; etc.).

Heck, I even know friends that couldn't afford to get their book and who either asked classmates if they could borrow their book for a couple days OR who paid their classmate a small fee to 'rent' the book now and then. Students can be very creative!

Next, I'd scope around to half.com, amazon.com and all the other discounted sites. If he has mostly hardcovers, there are probably less options but there are even more discounted options for paperbook books.

tokmom
08-29-2008, 04:03 PM
idk about libraries. Ours has a very short period of time to take out books like that and you can't take them back out for a while and then if they get recalled on you you are done! And there is no way on EARTH I could share a book. What if the other person needs it when you have time to study? What if they lose it or something? I can tell you one thing a nursing major isn't cheap. be prepared. At my school they all have to buy uniforms and pda's.

Yeah, my dh and I are both nurses, so we know there will be other expenses like uniforms. The PDA is a new gadget since we graduated back in the stone age.:teehee:
Maybe he can find out ahead of time if expensive items are needed. We can plan accordingly instead of getting hit between the eyes.

tokmom
08-29-2008, 04:18 PM
I have mostly found the international editions on Ebay. If you type the isbn into a search engine they will show up. That's how I found out about them in the first place. I couldn't believe that a book could be so much cheaper but I did a lot of research before I bought and so far haven't had any problems. All of my sibling have taken advantage of them. My sister was a Soc major, bro#1 history major and bro#2 economics major. You should be able to find them for all subjects.

Tell your son good luck! I am a nursing major too! I'm 4 prerequisites away from applying to nursing school. Hopefully I'll be an "official" nursing student in fall of '09.

Good luck to you! My son just started so has a long way to go.
Let us know when you become accepted!!:cheering:

tokmom
08-29-2008, 04:21 PM
I wanted to say a heartfelt thank you for all the helpful advice! I'm going to pass it on to another mom that just about had a heart attack when she saw the book bill.:teehee: