Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Thrifty Thinking: Saving Money on Textbooks

With the College Board estimating that students now spend about $1,200 a year on textbooks, back to school can be exceptionally expensive for college students and their parents. To ease the financial burden of school, Alex Neal, CEO of CampusBooks.com, the leading textbook price comparison site, has the following tips to help students and parents be sure they are saving the most on textbooks this school year.
·         Use CampusBooks.com’s Buy vs. Rent Tool: CampusBooks.com’s “Buy vs. Rent” tool includes a side-by-side analysis of the options available for each textbook, historic buyback prices and a purchasing questionnaire to help students make an informed decision and ultimately save them the most money. The tool uses a proprietary algorithm to recommend whether a book should be bought or rented based on the estimated value of the book in 6 months. Students should be aware of the options available to them so that they can confidently choose the option that fits their budget. 
·         Confirm Textbook Materials with Professors: According to Campusbooks.com’s data, nearly one in four students prefer to purchase brand new textbooks. This financial burden can be lifted by asking the professor a few essential questions about course material, such as if an earlier edition (usually substantially cheaper and with few content differences) can be used and whether supplemental materials (CD,s DVDs, access codes, etc.) are required. 
·         Take a Risk: If students decide purchasing the textbook is their best bet this fall, hold on to the book until next August to sell it back. CampusBooks.com’s data shows that books typically have a higher buyback rate in August since most students are buying and few students are selling books back to bookstores. Keep in mind that bookstores set prices based on supply and demand, so head in with books to sell at the beginning of the year when their supply is lowest. 
·         Evaluate Yourself As a Student: Some students prefer to rent their textbooks and some prefer to purchase them. Although CampusBooks’ survey revealed that 50% of students rent their textbooks, variables such as the duration of the class can make renting an inefficient choice. With eBooks, students should take caution due to some eBooks having restrictions on the amount of pages they can print, devices they can download onto and access to the text after a term is over. 
·         Explore Alternative Options: CampusBooks.com also features international editions and local library listings. Students can search for books by zip code and CampusBooks will show all local library results. Although you can't highlight a library book as you would a purchased book and the time you can take out the book is also limited, this is a good option for some students since it's free. International editions are the same book as the domestic edition, but they are often much cheaper since they are priced for their local market. American editions are typically the most expensive in the world. 
CampusBooks.com carries over 8 million new and used college textbooks in one convenient location. The online resource searches thousands of sellers and compares prices on new and used books, rentals and e-books for students. For more information, visit www.campusbooks.com.

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