I am in Biology 101 this quarter (yes I know, easy class, but it fulfills a GEC; General Education Credit), and the book was supposed to be about $100. Previously, I’d always been a good boy and purchased every textbook for every class. I shared a textbook a few times, but even then I helped pay for it. So, I thought to myself, “let’s try something new.” I didn’t purchase the textbook right away, and decided to wait and see how the class is. Well, it turns out, I certainly didn’t need the textbook. Every lecture comes with a nifty PowerPoint presentation with all the information on it. We don’t even need to do readings from the textbook. I’d finally successfully avoided getting ripped off.
So, here’s the monumental tip: don’t buy your textbooks right away. If the class is conducted mostly in lecture, and you think you can get through without having to read from the book, then don’t buy it.
There are many ways to save money on textbooks; not buying them is the most financially beneficial. Of course, some classes need the textbook (or lab books, or special editions of textbooks, course packets, etc), but you will always find out in a week or two. Sometimes, you find out the very first day of class. I’d lost money too many times (one time I bought an Economics textbook that came in pages, binder ready. We never once even opened the book because the class was entirely lecture notes. Of course, the store wouldn’t buy the book back at the end of the quarter because it wasn’t bound. I learned my lesson.).
You should never sacrifice your grades just for financial reasons. However, more often than not, you’ll run into a few classes during your college experience that don’t ever use the textbook. Take advantage, and save some money.