Students at private universities spend an average $1,200 a year on textbooks, according to the College Board. The TCU Office of Financial Aid puts the average for TCU students’ book and supplies at $970.
This can often leave first-year students asking how to get the best deals and when to buy textbooks. Well, we’ve rounded up some options to answer that very question.
Dr. Kassia Waggoner, a professor of English and Women and Gender studies, recommends students buy or rent their textbooks as early in the semester as they can.
“I am a literature and composition professor, so I can tell you that in my classes, it is essential to buy or rent the books right away,” said Waggoner.
However, she does suggest waiting until you see the syllabus for some classes.
“Some classes may not depend on the book as much, so I recommend waiting until after you see the syllabus before buying a textbook,” she said. “If you see that reading quizzes are a part of your grade, that’s a sign that you should definitely buy or rent the textbook for the course.”
As for where to get those books, here are some tips from upper-division students to be passed down:
- There are websites designed to compare textbook prices to find the cheapest price. These include: Textbooks.org, CheapestTextbooks.com, Booksprice.com and TextbookRentals.com
- Compare the differences of renting versus buying a textbook. If students rent from the TCU campus store they are still allowed to highlight in their books.
- Consider price, convenience, learning style and whether the class is a long-term major class or a one-time core class when trying to decide if the price tag is worth the book.
- Keep receipts and understand the exchange and return policy – if unsure, just ask.
- Don’t forget to resell books that are no longer needed. At the end of the semester several vendors come to campus to buy used books from students.
If students don’t want to stop by the campus store, the College Investor compared the best college textbook rental sites as of 2016. The sites are rated on a scale of one to five textbooks — five textbooks being the best — based on the best prices, convenience, shipping methods, value-added services and fine rental policies.
Amazon Textbook Rental: 📚📚📚📚📚
Campus Book Rentals: 📚📚📚📚📚
Valor Books: 📚📚
For more information on the book rentals options and reviews of their services, students can also check out the Consumer Affairs’ Textbook Rental Guide.
Good luck book shopping Frogs!