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How to find bargain textbooks

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When I do my textbook shopping, I find it necessary to keep a box of tissues by my side. It is sad to see my hard earned dollars go towards textbooks and workbooks that are only used for a few weeks. It’s even more depressing to look up textbooks and see that professors want the newest edition that just came out a month ago and the workbook with the online component or CD.

A recent article from NBC News said that textbook prices are soaring because they’re sold like drugs. Nicole Allen, a spokeswoman for the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, refers to students as “captive consumers,” since books are a required part of the college experience and obtaining a degree. Students keep on coming back to textbook publishers because they have no other choice than to buy the books.

While it’s impossible to get past book buying time, there are more than a few avenues to explore in looking to beat DePaul’s expensive bookstore prices. However, for some, bookstore prices may be worth it. DePaul has all the books you need on campus, and a simple trip to the bookstore can help you obtain everything you need to succeed right then and there. You won’t pay any shipping fees for returns and the process of renting is quite simple.

But for others who are looking for more competitive prices and are willing to sacrifice convenience, websites like Amazon and Chegg can help you out in your time of need.

It does not take hours of searching online for obscure titles to become a savvy textbook buyer. Armed with the right knowledge and tools, saving hundreds of dollars can become a reality. One website in particular is extremely helpful in searching for the lowest online prices of textbook rentals and even purchases. All that is needed is the ISBN code on your needed textbook, which DePaul’s online search catalogue provides. According to its website, ISBNSearch is “the most accurate and reliable way to search for a book. Use (the) search engine to find book information and the best prices for books.”

The search engine tends to pull from the same websites with naturally low textbook prices. Amazon and Chegg are two websites that consistently offer some of the best prices for textbooks. However, shipping is sometimes not included, which is something to keep in mind when buying or renting from these websites.

Beyond online shopping for textbooks, it is also useful to check local libraries and DePaul’s library for titles that you may already have access to without having to purchase them. This may only apply to common titles such as books you need for your Philosophy 101 or Religion 101 classes. Checking library catalogues as soon as possible is necessary, since they are kept in limited supply and other classmates may have the same idea.

Using DePaul’s resources, checking for textbook titles through ILLiad and I-Share can also be a money saving avenue. ILLiad provides a way for DePaul students to request books and articles from participating libraries worldwide, while I-Share is limited to books in Illinois academic libraries.

Both ILLiad and I-Share are great resources for not only finding textbooks on your class list, but also for finding additional research when writing papers. It is important to keep in mind that while the system is efficient, you will have to wait for shipping and processing, meaning that those who procrastinate on due dates will have trouble getting their sources in time.

U.S. News and World Report suggest sharing textbooks with friends, looking for e-books rather than paper books and buying earlier editions of textbooks. While all of these constitute great money saving tips for textbook purchasing, be prepared to assess if the sacrifices associated with the methods are worth the discount. Sharing a textbook with a friend can seem like a great idea, until you find out your schedules do not work well together or you use the textbook in class a lot. Using an e-book makes annotations difficult and buying earlier editions sometimes leaves out key sections that will show up on exams.

A report from attn, a pro-generational editorial website, found from U.S. Census Bureau statistics that the average student in 2015 spent more than $1,000 on textbooks,  “an 812 percent increase over the previous generation.” Textbooks can easily contribute to student debt, but with the right resources they don’t have to make as much of a dent in your wallet as full price textbooks would.

While students might be captive textbook consumers, that does not mean that they have to use to same seller every time. Shopping around and taking the time to weigh the pros and cons of each resource can help to make the back to school experience a little less painful. Remember to shop smart by looking beyond DePaul’s bookstore prices this quarter.

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