Before each semester, there is one challenge that every student faces. No matter the age of the student or how many credits the student has accumulated, the struggle is overwhelming. The sinister monster, internally devouring its prey from the corner of his poor victim’s mind, is none other than the tiring task of purchasing textbooks.
Textbook prices have become ridiculously expensive. Students from all over the country struggle with purchasing their textbooks. It’s a hard and grueling process. I for one, have three websites that I check every other day for about two weeks before school starts. I wait until the opportune moment to purchase the books that I will hardly look at throughout the semester. It feels like such a waste of money, but if I were to wait until the beginning of classes to find out if I needed the books, the prices would go up.
There could be a few solutions to these high prices. Universities could add the price of textbooks into the price of the semester. That way, student loans could go directly to purchasing textbooks, and students could enjoy their breaks without having to stress about textbook prices. The textbooks are often used for multiple semesters, and universities could buy these textbooks in bulk and distribute them to their students. This would also eliminate the issue of repurchasing textbooks if a student mistakenly purchases the wrong edition.
While that would be the ideal solution to this problem, there are a few more practical ones that I have discovered throughout my time at Francis Marion. The one that has helped me the most is sharing textbooks. Last semester before I ordered my textbooks, I asked all of my friends what their schedules were. I discovered that I had most of my classes with somebody I knew, so we split the price of the textbook and shared it. We would choose which week we would have the book, and we did the reading and notes for the next week while the other person had it. Sharing books saved me about $200 last semester.
Another solution is to find friends who purchased the book before and borrow it from them. This semester, I had a friend who owned a book that I needed which was about $100 online. She let me use it for the semester for only $20. Last semester I needed a math textbook, and my friend gave hers to me. As long as you take care of the textbook responsibly, it’s worth a shot asking to borrow a friend’s book for the semester.
Textbook costs are more or less unavoidable. There will always be textbooks that are required to be new, like lab manuals and math codes. However, there are a few ways off of the beaten path that can help you save a dollar or two.