Better textbooks for your bucks

Published by The Voice (

“Books (74/365)” by LifeSupercharger is licensed under CC BY 2.0

It is the beginning of a new school year with a completely different schedule, new activities, and a new list of worries – one of those worries being how to efficiently purchase textbooks.

Most students not only focus on cost, but on quality and condition. In addition, students face the tough decision of where to purchase their textbooks. Should they go to the college bookstore or surf the web? Should they buy them new or used?

“It depends on what is cheaper this year,” said Amber, a public relations major from Cumberland County College. According to the How Rising Textbook Prices Mirror Rising Drug Costs video on, the average price of textbooks has risen over 1000% since 1977, more than triple the rate of inflation.

So how do you get better books for your bucks?

In a recent bookstore survey, 11 students were chosen at random to answer questions about their method of buying textbooks for the new school year. The majority of students stated that they bought most or all of their textbooks from the college bookstore because it is an easier, more convenient way to purchase their books. Students who used online sources stated that they used popular sites to purchase their books, such as eBay, Chegg, and Amazon. Although these sites are well known for their good prices, they cannot always guarantee that they are the lowest price.

Finding an online source to purchase textbooks isn’t easy. Gathering online sources can be a huge headache, especially when you are flipping from one window to another. So, how do you compare textbook prices without the hassle you ask? The answer is This website can compare the prices of one textbook from several sites at once. It’s a for textbooks. “Search one and done.”

Whether you purchase at the bookstore or online, you will almost always have the option to buy the book new or used.

Buying used textbooks may sound lame, but it is a much easier, cost-effective way to buy your textbooks. According to the Average “Textbook” Prices chart on, the average price of a used textbook in 2013 was $59, twenty dollars less than the average new textbook.

Seven out of 11 students in the bookstore survey stated that they had bought or rented a used textbook because it’s less expensive. Although the condition may not be as shiny and clean as a new textbook, it is better to buy a used textbook for a lesser price than to buy an expensive new one.

Without a doubt, textbook prices will continue to rise as long as there is a market for them; inflation will increase and debt will only get deeper. Always keep in mind that there are easier, more cost-efficient ways to buy your textbooks for your classes, you just have to ask yourself, “Should I buy them from the college bookstore or online?” and “Should I buy it new or used?”

Published by Georgia Iris Salvaryn

Writing Arts graduate student

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