Category Archives: Textbook Tips

How to pay less for textbooks

To buy or not to buy — when it comes to buying textbooks, your options can be limited. To save or not to save, here are some FreeP tips on the costly world of buying textbooks at Boston University.

Barnes & Noble

Centrally located in Kenmore Square, the Boston University Barnes & Noble is the primary provider of textbooks and classroom materials on campus. Students can order their textbooks through the BU Barnes & Noble website for pickup at the store or dorm or home delivery. If you want to stretch your legs, you can also peruse the shelves of textbooks at the bookstore.

Expect no sales or discounts for new materials. However, renting or buying used editions, if available for that course, are money-saving alternatives for the frugal-minded student. The conditions of used editions may vary, but the books are generally in readable condition.

A cornerstone of BU, the Barnes & Noble in Kenmore provides many options in both the purchasing process and price variance. However, for those seeking the cheapest textbooks, this store may not be the perfect choice.

Amazon

If full price isn’t your thing, Amazon is a great alternative to the shelves of Barnes & Noble. While some of the prices on Amazon are comparable with the Kenmore-located store, most textbooks can be purchased at a heavily discounted rate. Amazon also has a wider array of used textbook options at very low prices.

While Amazon can deliver textbooks to your dorm, you can also pick up — and return if you ordered the wrong ones — at the Amazon Locker at 870 Commonwealth Ave. Located across the street from the College of Fine Arts and the College of General Studies in West Campus, this brick-and-mortar Amazon store is helpful for those in a rush or unable to pick up books through the campus mail system.

The drawbacks of using Amazon for all your textbook shopping needs is that it may not have specific editions that a professor demands for a course. Comparing prices and hunting down these specific versions can also be time-consuming. However, if you’re a true penny pincher, the time spent will be worth it.

Selling Textbooks

Unless you are a passionate textbook collector, you may not need many textbooks after you have completed a specific course. Instead, you can sell textbooks for cash. At the end of each semester during final exams, students will find trucks and vans along Commonwealth Avenue with the sole purpose of buying textbooks.

The buyers always pay in cash, but they may not purchase all the textbooks you have.

If you are still strapped with certain textbooks after visiting the numerous buyers on the street, try selling to other students through the various BU class groups. While syllabi may change, textbook requirements for courses often remain the same.

Additional Tips

Don’t buy your textbooks over the summer. Wait until you attend class and go over the course syllabus. The professor may change his or her mind and decide to make certain textbooks optional or remove them.

Boston has many great local bookstores, but don’t rely on them for your textbook needs. Local shops may have new and used books, but they most likely will not carry that special microeconomics textbook you need.

Source

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Working towards a cheap book future

Textbook costs have been the bane of college students for a long time. Quill West, the director of the Open Education Project at Pierce, says textbooks are almost like a “hidden cost,” since they aren’t listed as part of tuition costs.

“Access is a big issue,” West said. “Many students don’t buy textbooks at all because of the price, knowing full well that it may affect their grades, and community college students are the ones most likely to not be able to afford them. Textbooks are supposed to be a support structure for students that helps them learn. They cannot fulfill that role if they are such a financial burden.”

According to West, the goal is not to simply replace the role of traditional textbook publishers. The Open Education Project is a combined effort by students, Pierce faculty, and state legislators to bring cheaper, perhaps even free, options to students when it comes to textbooks. Already, the Joint Base Lewis-McChord campus has one such program up and running: Pierce Open Pathway (POP). All five of Washington’s public universities and The Evergreen State College accept credits from this transfer degree, and saves students costs by allowing a mixture of free resources both online and from the library that teachers can also use for a more customized class experience rather than having to rely explicitly on traditional textbooks.

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OER Saves Students $1 Million in Textbook Costs

September 26, 2017 – Over the last few years, several Santa Fe College professors opted to forego the use of traditional textbooks and use Open Educational Resources (OER) to save students money.  OER content is licensed in a manner that provides perpetual permission resulting in the ability to retain, reuse, revise, and redistribute content.

During Fall 2016, there were 98 sections using an OER.  During Fall 2017, that number more than doubled with 207 sections. As a result, there has been over one million dollars in savings for students since tracking began.

The average yearly cost of textbooks per student is approximately $1,200. Studies have shown how the high cost of textbooks has affected student learning and academic choices in several ways including taking fewer courses, not registering for a specific course, dropping, withdrawing or failing a course or earn a poor grade.

Over 66 percent of students do not purchase the required textbook.  This greatly affects their ability to be successful. Using OER enables students to learn without the financial hurdles printed textbooks can present. Many online OER have a low-cost print option if students wish to have a hard copy.

A list of courses/instructors using OER can be found at sfcollege.edu/online/resources-and-services/zero-cost-textbooks.

If you are interested in using an OER, would like more information, or your name is not on the listing, contact debbie.blair@sfcollege.edu.

Today@Santa FE

Expansion of e-books could equate to student savings

TALLAHASSEE — Florida universities are taking the first steps toward expanding the use of electronic textbooks and other material, hoping to bring significant savings to students who spend hundreds of dollars each semester on traditional textbooks.
The Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the university system, approved a 2018-19 budget request this week that includes a $656,000 program to encourage the greater use of so-called “eTexts” and other open educational resources in lieu of the standard textbooks.
It may take some time to replicate the experience of the University of Indiana, a leader in the use of eTexts, with IU reporting last spring that its students saved an estimated $3.5 million in the 2016-17 academic year by using eTexts in place of textbooks.
But Joseph Glover, provost at the University of Florida, who is part of a group coordinating innovation and online programs among the universities, said the expanded use of eTexts and other open-source material “is a great opportunity for really substantial savings for our students.”

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Is Students’ Textbook Spending Falling?

For the second year in a row, college students spent less on textbooks and other course materials. The findings, from two new reports, link the spending drop to a rise in the use of rented materials and digital textbooks. The reports cite that digital materials can cost 15-70% less than new print textbooks.

The Student Watch Survey, conducted by the National Association of College Stores, reported a decline of $23 per student in spending; it dropped from $602 during the 2015-2016 academic year to $579 during 2016-2017. Student Monitor, an independent study of student spending issued twice a year, reported a decline of $64 in spending per student, dropping from $607 during the 2015-2016 year to $543 in the 2016-2017 academic year.

More students than ever—82% of the respondents in the Student Monitor survey—are using comparison shopping. Students, the reports said, are taking advantage of the competitive market for course material, where there is an increased variety of low-priced options.

The Student Watch survey reported that as many as 52% of students use digital course materials. According to this study, renting a textbook costs about $30 less than buying one. More than 33% of the respondents in the Student Watch survey said they had rented one or more textbooks; that figure marks a record high.

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