Textbooks can be affordable:
I recall my Freshman year of college like it was yesterday. I remember how excited I was that first time on campus, registering for classes, meeting new friends, pledging my sorority, and then…..going to the bookstore and getting a huge shock. The price of college textbooks is outrageous. Sure, you can save a bit of money by purchasing used books, but it’s still an enormous amount of money. Credit Card companies know this, and are often on hand with representatives near the bookstore, offering students what may often be their first credit card. They have specials, some with 0% interest for a (very) limited time to (few) well qualified borrowers (many students are NOT) and they’ll throw in a FREE college T-shirt or some promotional goods when they apply. Then, they can use the card to buy their books, so they don’t have to spend a huge chunk of their budget for the semester before classes even start. It sounds great (to some) and can be (for few), but in reality, most students won’t pay the bill in full when it comes, they’ll carry a balance, and with the added interest charges, they’ll pay a ridiculous amount of money for those books. Yes, they can sometimes sell them back for a fraction of the price, but do you really think they will use that money to payoff the credit card? I can tell you, it’s VERY unlikely.
Textbooks CAN be affordable though. CampusBookRentals offers students the ability to RENT textbooks for a quarter, semester, or summer session. They can save 40-90% off bookstore prices, get FREE shipping both ways, are able to highlight in the textbooks, and they will make a donation to Operation Smile for every textbook rented. When I mentioned this on Facebook, one friend noted that she rented her textbooks from Amazon via Kindle. When I compared prices myself, the Kindle rental was more expensive AND it’s a digital copy of the book, NOT a physical copy, so that’s something to take into consideration.
Here’s an example. The book, Principles of Macroeconomics, is listed for sale on Amazon for $164.99 for a NEW copy, and used from $116.84 (plus shipping) in “good” condition. I’ve been asking friends on facebook for names of textbooks that their kids are currently using, so I can independently compare rates on books that real people I know are using. This particular person paid $205 for a USED copy in their school bookstore. At CampusBookRentals, Principles of Macroeconomics by Mankiw, N. Gregory textbook, is listed at $102.69 for one semester, $93.45 for a quarter, and $89.34 for a 55 day (summer) session. While it may be “just” $14 for this one book (if she had bought at Amazon, it’s actually $103 cheaper than what she paid at the school bookstore), when you consider she has 8 textbooks for this semester, that’s a significant savings. ONE of the books she needed was cheaper at Amazon, the rest were cheaper here, and ALL of them were much less expensive than the school bookstore, where she actually purchased books this semester. Had she rented all of her textbooks from here, her total would have been under $500. Instead, she paid $1200 at the school bookstore. That’s a $700 difference!
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