Textbooks are an undeniable phenomenon in college life. It is hard enough planning expenses such as tuition and room and board when you think about going to school. Textbooks remain unknown quantities that you can never really plan for. Worse than this unpredictability is the one thing that you do know about your textbooks if you have ever bought them before: they will be outrageously expensive.
Textbooks are a huge moneymaker for schools and for their professors. Often, the professors at a University are the ones who wrote the textbooks and then require their classes to buy them even if they are only marginally relevant to the focus of study.
This is a great way for a professor cum writer to make some extra money and boost his sales but it is a terrible burden for students who are simply eager to acquire the knowledge that they need in their future professions.
Textbooks also usually cost far more than books of similar size in other fields. Proponents and supports of this system will point out that the textbooks are dense tomes of scientific data and worth much more than a similarly-sized book of fiction or some other topic.
However, the sheer volume in which these textbooks are churned out should bring down the prices. Yet they do not. Most people who have been through the system can see that textbooks are just another way to feed the ever-growing bureaucracies that manage modern Universities.
The Redundancy of Textbooks
If the textbooks were actually necessary, this might assuage the pain a little. Unfortunately for defenders of this approach to learning, most of the material found in textbooks is available or should be available online. It is a major travesty of education, when students are already paying exorbitant tuition rates, that textbooks have not joined in the online revolution and begun selling ebooks on any number of mobile devices.
The truth is that a great deal of valuable information is available on respectable websites and online resources. This is especially true of scientific data in terms of chemistry equation, molecular formations and other information. Nevertheless, colleges continue to take from the poor and giving to the wealthy who sit in their college offices and earn their keep from this unnecessary economy.
If you are going to school now or plan to go in the future, you should begin looking for alternative sources of textbooks right away. Too many students, of all ages, sign up for school in a hyperbusy state.
They barely have time to register for classes as it is because they are trying to fit their present occupation and family life into a day that just does not have enough hours.
So they glumly accept the high prices of their textbooks which are effortlessly tacked onto their online account charges and move on with that much less in cash or with that much more in student debt. In the meantime, the University pays for another staffer in the administrative offices that seemingly rival the Death Star in size and intimidation factors.
Giving Away More Money: Selling the Textbooks Back
Some students try to comfort themselves knowing that they will be able to sell their books back at the end of the term. This is really just the carrot leading them on.
You might compare the original prices of the textbooks to the stick in that analogy.
The amount of money that students can expect to get back for their books is trivial in comparison to the new or even the used price. Furthermore, many students will be cheated out of these returns because their textbooks will no longer be considered in the same condition as they were when they bought them.
Renting Textbooks: Possibly the Best Solution for Now
There is one widely presented option that may be the best solution for students right now. Until a major change happens and universities realize that their textbooks are simply unnecessary in the face of widespread mobile devices and access to the Internet, renting textbooks may be the lesser of many evils.
At least when you rent textbooks, you minimize your total outlay of cash while relieving yourself of certain worries about those books. Often, there may be some insurance about their condition that you will not get with purchases.
The most important thing to do now, though, is identify a different source for your knowledge outside your school. If you think carefully about some of your courses, you may see how you can get by completely without textbooks.
For example, a course in 19th century American literature can be easily handled with free versions of the books and stories online. Nearly everything from that time period has passed into public domain.
With some of the tablets and other mobile devices out there, you could comfortably study these stories and books and even use the devices interactively in class.
Even many science courses can be handled to some extent this way. In lab courses, you will almost certainly need the lab books. However, much basic science information is explained and demonstrated more intelligibly online than it is in your textbooks.
However, when you absolutely need to buy or rent a textbook, you can still avoid feeding your school’s bureaucratic behemoth. There are a number of agencies and companies that sell textbooks designed to satisfy school requirements around the world.
These companies mostly operate on the Internet. They can ship books to people and arrange for their return as part of their prices. Typically, they sell or rent textbooks for rates that are far better than those charged by the educational institutions that they ultimately serve.
Finding Textbooks on the Web
When you visit a textbook vendor on the web, you will need to have more information with you than you would when buying from the University. This is how the colleges get people to spend more on their books. They offer the path of least resistance. Once you register for a class, you can usually just click on a button or link next to the class name and have your books reserved for you.
Getting around this problem and saving money will require some thought and preparation on your part. Fortunately, it does not require much from you.
You will simply want to have the full name of the book and the ISBN number. You can get this information by initiating, but not completing, a book purchase on the University website. Copy that info and then use it to buy the exact book that your school requires with a book merchant that you find on the Internet.
There is a number of such textbook merchants online today. A good example is the company known as Chegg. This business can provide you with nearly any textbook that you might need for any course. In addition, they can offer you things that the University most likely will not.
For instance, if your books have not arrived on time, Chegg will put a digital copy online for you to access until the books have arrived. A long as you have paid for the textbooks, they will provide access to them.
Saving money on textbooks is more important than you might think. If you are just starting out in the world of post-secondary education, then you may have yet to understand something about the burden of the costs associated with your education. Every penny that you can save now will be immensely helpful in the future.