Price that Book

Courtney Fazenbaker, Staff writer

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Last week was the first week of classes for Robert Morris University students which meant back to school book shopping was a go. Most students purchase their books from the Barnes and Noble book store on campus because it is easy and convenient, but are there more cost efficient ways to purchase books nowadays? Students know that textbooks are by no means cheap and look for ways to snag deals on books. Students also try to get around the price issue of textbooks by not buying them at all and that could be a problem later on down the line concerning grades. Here we are going to look at the same textbook and the three different ways that you can purchase it to see which way saves you the most money.

Before students only had two options when buying books, they could either buy it used or buy it new. Buying used books saved you money, but really it did not save you that much more. One advantage of buying your books new or used is that when you are done with them, you can sell them back to the bookstore. There is a downfall to this though. Sometimes when you go to sell back your book it is usually not even worth half of what you paid for it, and if the class for that specific book is not being offered for the next semester, often times, you are not able to sell those books back.

Let’s look at a chemistry book offered at the Robert Morris University bookstore as an example of books with varying prices. Online this book is priced at $170.40 new, and $127.80 used. Since this book costs a lot of money and probably a popular buy-back item (because chemistry is a common class), someone looking to sell it back may actually get a decent amount of money for it.

In the last year college bookstore started renting textbooks to students, which was cheaper than buying both new and used books. This is a great alternative for students who only wish to have the book for the semester and have no desire of keeping it afterwards. When you rent a text book, you usually save about fifty percent more than if you were to buy it new or used and in the end the savings really add up. Students can take notes, highlight, and do anything else they would do in a book that they purchased as long as the book is returned in good condition.

I never rented a book before,” stated a new transfer student. “I only rented one book that I thought I was not going to want after the class was over, and it was cheaper than buying used. The rest of my books were used.” This is a good example of how you can save money by just thinking ahead to the end of the semester.

Looking back on our chemistry book example, if you were to rent the book it would cost you $83.50, which is about $86.90 less than if you were to buy it new and $44.30 less than if you were to buy it used. These are some pretty big saving that you can take into consideration in order to save money each semester.

Recently, ebooks have become a new option for students. You can now use tablets or nooks to read your textbooks, or you can use your computer. Ebooks are just like rentals. You have 180 days after you activate your book to access the materials, which is plenty of time for the semester. You can take notes, highlight, and organize all of those things for quick easy access, which makes studying easier.

I think that if I was not going to use the book that much I would get an ebook since they seem to be the cheapest option,” said a Robert Morris University student when asked, if she would ever consider any other options besides buying used books.

Ebooks are even cheaper than renting and buying used books. Thus, if you are looking to save money and don’t mind not having a paper copy of your books then ebooks are a great affordable way to go. Another perk is that you will no longer have to carry around a ton of books. You would simply have all of your books with you at all times on your laptop, or on your tablet. Furthermore, if you do not often use your textbook, it’s nice to just be able to reference it here and there online. The ebook version of our chemistry book costs $76.75, saving you even more money than just renting the text version.

When it comes down to it, students purchase their books usually based on their personal preference, whether it is to save money, or to have the book in digital or print form. There are many ways to save money. You just have to be willing to take those aforementioned options. So what will you do next semester now that you know how much savings are out there?

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