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Textbooks… Do I Have To?

It occurred to me today that the summer is rapidly coming to an end, seeing as freshman orientation starts this week and I was recently suckered into helping out with it once again. But with the start of school comes that horrible time of year that eats away at all the money I just made over the summer- buying the textbooks. I finally checked and they’re officially up on www.efollett.com- ugh.

Now, sometimes you’ll get lucky and some of your classes won’t require any books at all. But here’s the tricky thing… some professors will list books for the class but never actually use them for class work. Major bummer- and a huge waste of cash. That’s why, what I like to do is this- know what classes are most likely to actually need a book and buy those first. The rest can wait until you’re absolutely sure you’ll be needing them.

Business classes, math, science… those are typically no-brainers- buy the book. But art classes? Books aren’t always a necessity. In fact, the book for art classes is often listed as “optional”… so just why couldn’t it say that on the bookstore website? I don’t know…

English and Philosophy classes are pretty much guaranteed to need books but not always all of them at once. Literature and English professors will list all the books you are going to read throughout the semester. Obviously you can’t read them all at once, so if you’re strapped for cash you can always wait until you get to class and find out when you’ll be reading each one and in what order. Then you can just buy it as you need it rather than all at once.

And if you still aren’t confident you can always e-mail the professor before class begins just to be sure.

Here’s a tip that I’ll tell you now because it took me 2 years to figure it out for myself- books are a lot cheaper when you buy them used on amazon or half.com or some place like that rather than in the bookstore. Even buying used books at efollett.com or in the bookstore aren’t worth it when you compare them to half.com prices. I just wish I had realized that a little bit earlier in life… Oh well.

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