Going Back to College? Here are Some Tips for Buying Books Online
Thinking about going back to college? Check out these tips to learn about buying your textbooks online and how to avoid some of the common problems students make when ordering online.
Tip #1: Don't order the book unless you have the syllabus
Many will go to their college's bookstores and write down the names of the books that are shelved for the classes they are taking. The problem is that many times this information is wrong, if you've purchased the wrong book from the college bookstore, they should exchange it without any problems. However if you've ordered online and find out that it's an incorrect book it will require exchanging it through the website which could take a lot more time and be a much bigger hassle. If you have the teacher's syllabus and the syllabus itself is wrong, the teacher will usually be far more lenient with students who need to take the time to obtain the correct book.
Tip #2: The Name isn't enough sometimes
Many times students will have the name of the correct textbook, order it online, and show up to class and realize that their book looks different than other students'. This is because many textbooks release the same book with updated information as a new edition. If you have the wrong edition it is usually possible to get through a class with little inconvenience, but the page numbers will be different and there may be assignments and test questions concerning material your book doesn't cover. So be sure to double and triple check that you have the right edition when you order your textbooks online.
Tip #3 Plan ahead for shipping times
One of the key setbacks to ordering textbooks online is the shipping time. Shipping can take from a few days to several weeks depending on both the actual time it takes to ship the book and the availability of the book. Often, there may be more demand for a specific textbook than planned, causing significant delays. The last thing a good student wants is to show up to class without their book, not knowing when it will arrive. So ensure that you have planned a reasonable amount of time for your books to arrive, usually a week or two, this will greatly minimize the risks of ordering online and minimize the problems caused by a delay in shipping
Tip #4 Remember Shipping Costs
This is one of the oldest and most effective online scams. Many sites will claim incredibly inexpensive textbooks, or even slightly lower prices than large book-selling websites. Many times however, these sites will charge ridiculously high shipping costs, allowing them to make a much higher profit on the book, and will often make the book cost much more than it would from a bookstore or even other online source.
Tip #5 Don't forget to check what's in the public domain
Some classes will require students to read older literature, sometimes in addition to textbooks or in place of them. Most instructors are unconcerned with the edition of the book, if you're unsure just ask, and may not even require students to bring a copy to class. When a book is old enough, it is placed in the “public domain” meaning that the work is free to use. There are many websites that post the text of these works online with no charge, and others are even able to provide them in a format for e-readers. Students looking to save some money should become familiar with these sites, these books can also be a great way to read classic literature on your own without needing to buy a copy from a bookstore.
College life can sometimes feel like a constant struggle to reduce costs, and ordering textbooks online can be a big step to saving money. Going back to college is difficult enough without high textbook costs. Follow these tips and you can save money by ordering online, but like any good college student, still be smart about it.
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