Tackling textbooks



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Students can purchase textbooks at a variety of locations, including online. Caitlin O'Hara Buy Photos

After your bursar bill is paid and you’re settled into your dorm with furniture and snacks, there’s still one expense left: textbooks.

Textbooks seem to get pricier every year and always come at an unexpected cost to many students. However, there are many ways to save money on textbooks through the various options available in Bloomington and online.

Should I buy or rent?

There are only a few reasons why you would need to buy a textbook. First, if you plan to use it past one semester. There are some textbooks that can be good resources as you take classes in your major area of study. Holding onto these after one semester may be worth the larger ticket price.

You could also buy the book if you plan to take large amounts of notes in the book itself. Rental agreements generally don’t allow you to heavily mark the books, so it would be better to buy.

Other than keeping the book or wanting to take copious notes, you should always try to rent books to save the most money. Rental prices are usually much cheaper than the cost to buy it.

Where should I buy books?

In Bloomington, the most popular places to buy books are the IU Bookstore in the Indiana Memorial Union and TIS Bookstore on Third Street across from Jordan Hall. Between these two retailers, you can usually find all of the books you need for just about any class.

But before you buy from these stores, compare their prices online at websites like Chegg or Amazon. There are many online textbook vendors that buy books nationwide, which allows them to offer books at a lower rate. The only downside is waiting for them to ship to you.

When should I buy books?

All IU students have the ability to order every book listed on their syllabus before classes even begin. However, you may want to wait until after the first day of class to order. Sometimes professors make last minute decisions and change the required reading or drop a book.

And don’t worry about being ill-prepared on your first day. Professors usually give you ample time to order books and will post the readings online for the first week or two.

You could also split the cost of a textbook between a friend by only purchasing one for the both of you. Some books are only required for homework and it would be easy to share one.

The best advice for buying textbooks is to compare prices and be smart. There are many ways to save money if you only take the time to research.

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