Buying Text Books at an Affordable Price

Most of the books on your required reading list you will be borrowing from the university library but there may be one or two you would like to have permanently on your book shelves. Plus the main reference books which will be required throughout a course and you will therefore have to buy. Text books are generally expensive but there are ways to pay less. Here we will be looking at the various opportunities to buy books for less.

The Campus Book Store

This may be your first and obvious choice. They have all the text books on your list. You go in, buy, and leave with all your books and a big hole in your budget. There are cheaper options and you can make significant savings.

The Used Book Store and the Campus Book Swap

A university town is bound to have some used text books in its used book stores. I do not suggest scouring every store searching for what you need. That would be time consuming and you probably would not find a great deal. However, it is certainly worthwhile keeping an eye open for bargains and making a regular visit to one or two local used book stores. More efficient is a scheme such as the Campus Book Swap. You can also set up something similar on your own campus where this is not already available. This makes so much sense. Students who are graduating may not want to keep all their text books and could provide a constant, cheap supply to students entering the same courses.

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Buying Online

Online is definitely the best place to be buying your text books if you cannot find them in a used book store or through a campus book swap. This is an example of what I found when I did a Google search on Jacques Derrida, Of Grammatology,

Amazon: List Price: $24.95; Amazon price: $18.22; Used and new prices through Amazon: $13.18 cheapest. As you see, I can save nearly $12 by buying here instead of at the Campus book store. The savings add up when you are buying several books each semester. In the course of the search I also discovered a site which has writings of every major philosopher from the beginning of the 17th century to the present day including most of Chapter Two from Of Grammatology. In addition I found the Stanford Presidential Lectures site which includes a biography, a full bibliography, and writing excerpts of some of the scholars. Scholars include Partha Chatterjee; Jacques Derrida; Homi Bhabha; Gayatri Spivak, and many more who have been part of the lecture program. The moral of this sample search is, buy online and also do a search to find related materials for free.

Photocopying Quota

Undergraduates may have to pay per photocopied page but it is still cheaper to do on campus. Postgraduates at many universities have a free photocopying quota. Use it to the full, without breaching the copyright laws on what percentage of a book you are allowed to photocopy. This does not, of course, replace the need to buy text books but it is invaluable for required reading of selected chapters of books. When there are only one or two copies of a book in the library and a long queue waiting to borrow then photocopying gives you more time to read and take notes, and to use later for revision.