Textbook tips to avoid using them as bricks

 Textbooks are expensive, but there’s an art to buying and using them correctly. (File/The Daily Campus)

Textbooks are expensive, but there’s an art to buying and using them correctly. (File/The Daily Campus)

It’s that time of year again: The time we all look at our list of required textbooks and try not to die inside when we see the price tags. Textbooks are expensive, but there’s an art to buying and using them correctly. Save your bank account this semester with these textbook tips.

Don’t buy them until your professor tells you to. Even if the UConn Bookstore or your syllabus lists them as professor-required textbooks, be mindful that this is not always accurate. Professors will tell you on the first day of class which books you need for the course. Wait until your professor specifically tells you that you need a book before you spend the money on it and get stuck using a $300 textbook as a doorstop.

Rent them. For a lot of textbooks, you won’t need to write in them or keep them past the end of the semester, but the Bookstore does let you highlight and write in their rental books with pencil. If you don’t permanently need the textbook, don’t buy it. The prices for renting a book are a lot more affordable than buying them outright and you don’t have to deal with the hassle of reselling them.

Look outside of the Bookstore. Don’t assume that the bookstore has the cheapest prices for the textbook you need. They offer price matching services, so don’t be afraid to check online. Check out the prices on Barnes and Noble, Amazon and Ebay. There are also a handful of UConn Facebook groups like Buy or Sell and Textbook Exchange where students will sell you their used textbooks, so do some searching!

Get Honey. If you’re buying your textbooks online, download a free browser extension like Honey. Honey will automatically apply coupon codes at checkout to get you the cheapest deal. It takes two seconds to download and you can continue using it for any online purchases you make.

Look online.  Project Gutenburg offers close to 60,000 PDFs of books online for free. See if your textbook is on there. If it isn’t, a lot of textbook PDFs can be found online by doing a quick Google search. If you don’t immediately find the textbook, try searching for specific chapters. It can take some digging to find certain books online, but persistence is key.

Split the cost with a friend. If your textbook is a digital copy online, split the cost for the access code with a friend or two. Create a shared login and then all of you can use the book for a fraction of the price. Just make sure your online textbook doesn’t require each person to have an individual login in order to complete assignments.

Share the book with a friend or roommate. If you and someone you know are in the same class, get one edition of the book and share it. This won’t work for all classes, but if the readings are short and you can maneuver your schedules around one book, it is definitely worth it.

Textbook prices can be astronomical and ridiculous, so it’s always worth saving money wherever you can. Shop smartly and good luck with your classes!


Courtney Gavitt is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. She can be reached via email at courtney.gavitt@uconn.edu.