It's back-to-school season for college students, and many are getting hit with sticker shock when they enter the bookstore, with some text books now $300 each.
But we found some ways to lower those costs, without buying a beat-up used book.
Textbook Costs Soar
Sophomore Emily Smith said she spent "$230 for 3 books, just for two classes."
And she was just getting started. "It was just for my art appreciation workbooks, and then my nutrition workbooks," she said. She had many more books still to purchase.
Adam Potts is used to it. "I'm a law student," he said, "so I'm spending a thousand dollars a semester on my law books.
The price of college texts has increased far beyond the inflation rate, according to Forbes magazine.
At the campus bookstore we found a number of books for well over $200 each, with some now topping $300.
Digital Downloads Expensive, too
You would think that in todays smartphone and tablet world, a digital textbook would be a fraction of the price. But that's not always the case.
For instance, Michael Hutt's "Marketing Management B2B" had better make you a good manager.
It was listed a whopping $344 new. It's still $242 for a digital download, hardly a bargain.
But search online at Amazon.com and book sites like Chegg.com and you may find better options by renting.
Renting to Cut Costs
Some examples of how renting a book, either new or used, can slash your costs:
Stevenson's "Operations Management" will run you $293 new, $220 used. But the best deal is to rent the latest edition from Amazon for $99 a semester.
Belch's "Advertising and Promotion" was $270 new, $202 used, at the campus bookstore. But you can rent the newest edition from Amazon for for $67 for one semester.
Emily Smith's sold on renting. "It really helps if you rent them," she said,"so its not as expensive, and then you can return them easily."
Bottom line: Before you buy that textbook, look into renting it: in most cases, unless it is a law review or other very important book, you probably won't need it after the class ends.
One caution: just make sure it's the latest edition. A three-year-old edition could be very different, and very frustrating to use.
That way you don't waste your money.
Follow John on Twitter (@JohnMatarese)
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