Today: Apr 21, 2024

Buying books doesn’t have to empty wallets

Mackenzie Hurlbert Copy Editor –
The topic of textbook prices is always a widespread subject of complaint during the first few weeks of school. The bookstore is swamped with backpack burdened students scouring the shelves or shuffling forward towards the online-orders nook.  While waiting in line in the student center, one can often overhear friends swapping secrets about which online site provides the best deals. With 4-6 classes to buy for, college students are desperately trying to find a more affordable way of being prepared. Once totaled up, the cost of textbooks can be severely damaging to your wallet, but many students have figured out ways to cut the cost.

For example, my methods of buying books started in mid-July. Being an obsessive, worry-wart of a person, I went on the SCSU Bookstore site as soon as possible as to be prepared for the upcoming semester. After deciding to take 6 classes in the fall, the foreshadowed cost of textbooks seemed daunting. Once totaled up on the bookstore website, I was looking to pay about $260 for one semester of books, and that was only if I bought them all used! My next move, after a slight panic, was to search online for cheaper prices. By buying books off of Amazon and, I was able to purchase all of my textbooks for $130, which is half of the price I would’ve spent if I had bought them all through the bookstore. While I did save money by buying my books mid-summer and online, my methods of purchase are not always beneficial. For example, last year I spent $40 on a textbook which I discovered on the first day of class was not necessary, and available in full text on the class website if wanted. Of course I am not the only Southern student overburdened with textbook costs. There are plenty other voices across campus ready to share their textbook troubles and saving techniques.

For example, junior Rachel Heyse uses an online site to purchase her textbooks. “I use which gives you a list of several websites that are selling a certain book and the prices each site is selling or renting it for,” said Heyse. However, while buying the books isn’t an issue for Heyse, the end of semester brings more hassles when it comes to selling them back. “It’s really annoying when you buy a book from the book store and then they refuse to buy it back at the end of the semester. When this happens I go on Bigwords or Amazon and try to get something back for it.”

Sophomore Patrick Cumpstone is a regular customer when it comes to buying textbooks at the bookstore, and in his opinion, the price range is not as much of a concern. “I use the bookstore to purchase my books, but only because I receive a certain amount of money through a scholarship each semester. Even though I buy through the bookstore, I try to purchase mostly used books because many used books are practically new and much less expensive than brand new books,” said Cumpstone. “I don’t mind purchasing from the bookstore because many used book prices are comparable to alternate purchasing methods and they are still in good shape.”

Sophomore Lauren Ericson is also an online buyer when it comes to purchasing textbooks, but she is sometimes forced to purchase from the bookstore if it is the only option. “I find a lot of the textbook prices [at the bookstore] to be a little on the obnoxious side, but I know in most cases that if I’m buying there, I don’t have much of a choice,” said Ericson, who hasn’t had many textbook nightmares. “The only disappointment I had was when I hardly used a $100 textbook one semester, and during the sell-back period they wouldn’t take it back because it was a custom textbook for the course that was being discontinued.”

While textbooks are a necessary purchase when it comes to being prepared for the semester, they also become a drain on wallets and patience also. Sites such as,, and can help students save some money, but getting your money back, whether by selling books online or back to the bookstore, is another hassle many college students face.  Hopefully these students’ previous stories and secrets on how to cut costs have provided some comfort and possible relief to those still purchasing their books for this semester.

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