Need college book help

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!

Many times if students can get the ISBN numbers from the required textbooks, they can go online to or or a number of other websites and get them much, much cheaper than buying them in the school bookstore.

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)

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!

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.

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.

I’m in college now and find that 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 has a good marketplace where students will sell their old books cheap or even trade. Good luck!

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!

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.

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.

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!

I want to know this too. He’s going to need an A&P book down the line.
Details, please! :slight_smile:

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).

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.

also 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.

i hear that they sell them on
Im in phisiology right now, so I completely understand what you are saying.

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 I used sellers that were rated well and only ever had a problem with one book. I highly recommend going that route.

my books werent so costly this semester
it was only about 300 bucks (which is actually for 6 classes, but only five books)

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 (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.

$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 and barnes& 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 !