Bought your textbooks yet? Read our money-saving tips first

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Let’s be honest: We tend to procrastinate a lot. It’s not uncommon that a few people will open Tele-BEARS late and get stuck with a 9 p.m. lab section or finish writing an assignment a few minutes before it’s actually due. And our university seems to approve OF our last-minute nature: showing up 10 minutes late to class is actually sanctioned. With such a lazy (but we prefer the term “laid-back”) culture around campus and a million things to do, it can become easy to neglect duties we should have carried out earlier. Buying books is top among these vices: many Bears still don’t even know what books they actually need for classes. If you’ve found yourself among this unlucky group, worry not! The Daily Clog is here to dig you out of the hole you’ve found yourself in.

Look past the student store

It’s a vital campus tradition. Every semester, the student store will run out of the books students need most. We know a lot of students are wary of wandering outside the safe walls of the bookstore they know and love, but there really are good reasons to do so. For example, Amazon often has the books you need at lower prices. Plus, it rarely runs out of stock, although you may have to contend with slow shipping. Keep in mind students can sign up for a period of free Amazon Prime, though, and that includes free 2-day shipping. But if you’ve found yourself buying after the first week of classes anyways, two days probably won’t matter.

Embrace e-books

This is the 21st century, so always remember the Internet can probably do it better than anything else. You can usually buy electronic versions of books for your Kindle that are much cheaper than their print counterparts (due to the lack of shipping, paper, etc.). You’re even covered if you’re one of the 12 people left on the planet who has yet to buy a Kindle, because you can install the Kindle app on your phone or computer. Plus, those classics you need for your English courses are probably available for free online trough services such as Project Gutenberg or Google Play.

Sharing is caring

Sometimes you really do learn the most important things in kindergarten. If you only need a book twice a week, who says you need to hog it that entire time? Maybe you and your friends can split the cost of a textbook for a semester. Friends who read together stay together.

Don’t sweat the editions

You might feel like you need to buy the exact UC version of your book to make sure it doesn’t combust randomly or give you faulty information. That’s usually not true, though. Take Math 1A and 1B: the textbook, written by a chap named Stewart, is ridiculously expensive. However, non-UC versions of the book can be found new and used for dirt cheap. The kicker is the other editions (even older ones) are often identical to the UC version. Some professors even go as far as posting homework sets for both UC and non-UC books, so check ahead to see whether you really need to fork out another $100 for a common textbook your friends might have lying around.

Do sweat the access codes

A few classes, such as Physics 7A, use online programs for things such as homework and review. The issue is you usually need an access code in order to go online with them. These codes are usually bundled with new textbook “packages” from the student store. Unfortunately, if you already bought a book and just need the access code, it can cost as much as the new book itself. It’s always a good idea to do some research.

Remember the discounts!

You’d be surprised about the tiny discounts you can find here and there. The student store, for example, likes to print coupons on receipts, most of which end up thrown away. But not for you, dear Clog reader! You know better. You might be late, but at least you won’t be left poor.

Image source: Hash Milhan under Creative Commons

Contact Sherdil Niyaz at [email protected]