With the cost of textbooks continuing to rise, students are dropping subjects or changing degrees in order to make their studies more affordable. This issue persuaded the National Union of Students to launch a new campaign for cheaper textbooks – calling for the removal of import restrictions on books. However, the Australian Publishers Associations did not approve of the campaign, as removing import restrictions would negatively impact the local publishing industry.
Given that the high cost of course materials can lead to financial stress for international students, students should look for opportunities to cut back and manage their book expenses.
Here are some ideas on how to save money on textbooks:
Read through your syllabus
The syllabus breaks down the entire course so you can have a clear grasp of what you’ll be studying and the books you’ll be using for each week. To ensure that you don’t overspend your money on buying expensive books, examine how necessary each book will be for the duration of the semester. If you only need to read a chapter or two, it would make sense to not buy the book, rather just borrow it or check it out from the university library.
Buy second-hand books
Find out from your local university boards or online communities whether anyone is selling the book that you need for a certain class. Used books can save you as much as half the price of brand new books. Once students have used them at your university the year before, they often will need to sell them.
Check discount websites
Many students find their textbooks no longer useful once their classes are over. There are websites that purchase textbooks from these students and resell them at a cheaper price. Just make sure that the edition you buy has the right content for your class. Books for some courses, such as law, often change by the year, so you will need to make sure the book isn’t too out of date for your needs.
Purchase books online
Sites like Amazon, Half.com, and Barnes & Noble are good places to start looking for cheap textbooks. You can also find discounts and deals from these websites.
Go for e-books
Most paperback books are now offered by publishers online. If you want to save a significant amount of money, you can purchase electronic copies, since they are far cheaper than paperbacks. There are also free e-books online that you can download as PDF documents and save it to a portable device.
Talk to your lecturer
Talk to your lecturer about your financial status. More often than not, they will be willing to understand your situation and offer you information where you can source essential books for the course.
Enquire about university services
Your institution should be aware of the rising costs of textbooks and provide cost-reducing measures to make sure students have lower cost options such as rentals or buyback programs. You can ask your university’s administration or the international student affair services about this.
Sell your unused textbooks!
You can earn extra dollars when you sell your text books after the semester ends. You can advertise your books on classified ad sites for bargains or sell them outright for cash. Either way, you can earn back the money you've spent for those books.