Just because a tuition check is written doesn’t mean your student’s college expenses are covered. Next up: textbooks. Follow these tips to insure that your student gets the correct textbooks at the most affordable prices.
As soon as the professor makes the syllabus and textbook requirements available, start looking for books. Double-check which edition is needed, as a class might have different requirements from semester to the next. And two professors teaching the same course might have an entirely different list of textbooks.
Encourage your student to talk to other people in her major or friends who have already taken her classes (by the same professor). If your student doesn’t anticipate needing the textbook after she’s taken the class, borrowing the book from a friend is a great way to save money.
For survey courses that the majority of students take, your student could consider organizing a textbook swap. A group of friends all taking the same few courses could get together, each student could buy one textbook and they could all share. However, this could get difficult around exams and finals, if they don’t work well as a study group.
Scour used textbook sites. There should also be some used bookstores near campus that will likely have books she needs, as long as the professor didn’t update editions or change the syllabus.
It’s almost a guarantee that the on-campus bookstores will have exactly what textbooks your student needs. Sometimes they have a good selection of used books, and other times you’ll end up paying top-dollar for a new book.
Generally, the cost of e-books is about half the price of new, printed books. If your student has a Kindle or other reading device, she can check to see if any of her required textbooks have an electronic version. If the professor hasn’t stated that e-textbooks are also OK, make sure she checks first.