If you refuse to spend money on textbooks and are only willing to part with funds which are 100% essential for your education, the best way out for you is renting textbooks. Of course, sometimes you can flip a book and almost not lose any money at all (or sometimes even earn as some textbooks increase in value), but the safest course would be paying only a fraction of a purchase price and get rid of the book at the end of the semester as soon as possible.
every single student can be used to or even familiar with textbook rentals, but if you don’t plan on putting the book on the shelf to show off in front of the guests or are going to need it in your future career, you probably wouldn’t need to buy the book anyway. The best thing about rentals is that you can pay for only a certain period of time during which you can use the book—and choose the most convenient for your course. In case you end up needing the book longer, you can extend the rental period or just buy it (and maybe sell it back later!).
Imagine this situation: you come to a bookstore and see two textbooks: one with a black-and-white cover, and another with a colored one, but it’s much more expensive. However, the information contained inside both of them is almost exactly the same. Which one would you end it buying if you can’t afford to throw away thousands of dollars on books which are sometimes hardly used by the professors? Of course, the cheaper black-and-white one! The trick is that you have just chosen an international edition. They may be of a slightly worse quality, but it’s the quality of knowledge that counts, isn’t it.
3. Get an Old Edition
Every year publishers fill the university bookstore shelves with newest editions. However, if you’re studying mathematics, for example, it’s hardly possible that everything we know about calculus would dramatically change in a few months’ time. Why buy the newest textbook fresh off the print then (unless your professor really, really wants you to do the exercises at the end of this one chapter which were not present in the previous edition) if the old ones are still serving their purpose perfectly well? Make sure that the previous edition is acceptable for your course, and then—you’re free to go and buy it (and maybe not get broke this time).
Tip: if you end up needing something from the recent edition, you can look it up in the library or ask to check it out in a friend’s copy.
Also, check out our Top Deals to find the cheapest textbook options!