When I studied back in India, my text books were around Rs. 500 ($10) or even less for the most part. They were from top book distributors like McGraw-Hill, Prentice Hall, Wiley, etc. After I came to US, I wanted to buy books for my classes and I go to the book store, the prices of books were shocking. Some books were $250..I was like “ What the heck, I got a similar book of McGraw-Hill for $10 back in India ?” …The reality is, if you look carefully, international editions have a clear note on them saying that “ Only for sale in countries like India, Sri lanka, Pakistan, etc”. I did not know why it was so when I bought books… Anyways, the point is text books are very expensive in US and as a student it is not advisable to buy books paying full price in the University book store. Even used books in University book store are over priced. They are around 70% of the new book price. Bottom line, never buy books from book store.
How to buy Cheap text books in US ? Online or Friends ?
As most of you know, the best place to buy books is online. As international students, some of you may not be used to buying books online…if you have not, here you go…this is your chance ! The good thing about instructors is, they always mention the name of the book and the exact ISBN. If you have ISBN number, you can get the same book online. ISBN is unique for every book including editions. If your instructor does not post it, you can ask them or go to the University book store website and get the ISBN from there ( Use the Bookstore for Not buying their books J )
Here are the common places I usually buy books
- Half.com (eBay Company)
- Ask someone who have taken the class, you can buy from them. No need to even pay for shipping.
- You also should look at the University Bulletin boards in Student Unions. You can get good deals there. You can post a request too.
- Some buy on Craigslist.com too, I never had though.
- Now a days, Facebook Market place is a great place to buy books from your friends.
When you buy books from first online websites, you always want to look for the seller ratings and see the feedback by buyers. Do NOT just buy from random people unless there is no option. Also, they list the condition of the book, do not be too cheap and take a crappy book. Buy only that is like new or slightly used. If you plan well, you should only pay 25% -40% of the actual price of the book or even less depending on the book condition.
Do you have any other ideas to buy books for cheap in US ? Any other good websites with personal experience ?
Image Credit : http://www.flickr.com/photos/donshall/3922960654/sizes/m/