Managing the Costs of Textbooks

Yes, There Are Options!

There are a number of textbook acquirement options to consider—yes, there are options!—when preparing for the start of your new classes each semester. The first of which is locating where to find the darned list of what you’ll need. Once you’ve sorted it out, then the questions arise: whether to rent or purchase, borrow or beg? from whom? and when?

Georgia Gwinnett College has a tidy little arrangement with Barnes and Noble to fulfill all of your textbook needs, and more! It’s a good place to start, but I caution you to be wary of the “more” in this enthusiastic statement. Like most enterprising and successful businesses, it is their “business” to sell you more than you may actually need and to convince you that they are the most optimal source to consider. So, appropriately warned… start here. You’ll need identifying information from each of your registered classes, i.e., fall semester, SPAN 1001 – 01. Select from the drop down menus and add all of your classes before hitting the “View Textbook Link.” From the list of options, pay special attention to what is “required” and what is “recommended” and jot down the ISBN codes. Any confusion or questions about what text(s) the instructor will be using may be directed to him or her via email (reference the GGC Directory on the College’s Web site for their email address).

And commence choices NOW!

Of course, you may opt toward the convenience of the campus bookstore, and that’s a perfectly viable choice. But with convenience often follows expense. I know… I know… for those receiving financial aid, the book voucher loaded to your Claw Card, for some of us, is the only avenue for getting the books we need. But keep in mind that any funds not used are refunded to you within 14 days after the drop/add period ends for the semester. If you can “front” the money, you may be rewarded with substantial savings. If this is an option for you, try eBay,, Powell’s Books or BetterWorldBooks. GGC’s bookstore has renting options, but also check out to do some comparison shopping.

In a Pinch?

Check the GGC Library to see if they have the text you need on reserve. Oftentimes, extra copies are donated to the library. Students may not check-out the resource in the usual way, but may access it for study within the facility during business hours.

Remember when I recommended contacting your instructors with questions? Here’s another you can include. Perhaps the required text is a third edition, but the author has a second edition under the same book title at a significantly lower cost. You guessed it! Ask if the earlier edition is a relevant option. To research whether an earlier edition exists, try clicking on the author link that’s generally provided.

Okay, now when to buy…

Consider supply and demand. When are you most likely to unload your textbooks once you’ve completed a course? Righto, at the end. So, when supply is at its peak, prices are at their lowest. Alternatively, when are books in the highest demand and subject to price increases? Right again… during the first days of class. You’re so smart; you’ll be a brilliant success in college!


~ by lookATLANTA on August 21, 2011.

One Response to “Managing the Costs of Textbooks”

  1. Excellent advice Laurie – especially the refund message, so many people don’t realize this! Can I add two things for your readers to consider?

    1. The website is a great starting point for textbooks. Just type in title or ISBN and DealOz will list purchase/rental/tradeback options from across the web – linking you to the sites as well.
    2. The public library is another great place for English majors. Out of the 8 books required this term for Women’s Lit, six are available at the library. Don’t have a card or live in Gwinnett County?? No problem – just show your GGC school i.d. along with your driver’s license and the card is free.

    Again, great post – Sandy

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