Where to Buy Books at the Last Minute
If you are like me, or most of the students that I know, we start procrastinating before school even starts. Procrastination starts by not buying our books in advance. It is understandable why we procrastinate: books are expensive, often costing us between $300-500 a semester. Officially, the University of Wyoming tells us to budget about $600 each semester for books. However, after going through the book buying system for eight semesters, I have finally come up with some time-savers (for the procrastinators) and money-savers (for everyone; after all, we are all broke). Below are the six businesses that I have found to be in the business of serving student book needs.
I have never procrastinated more buying books than this semester. I did not even have a good excuse. I am only taking three classes (and one bookless internship), so books were not going to be too expensive this semester; and I was not adding or dropping any classes, so I knew exactly which books I needed. However, as Monday rolled around, I still did not have any of my books. Realizing that I would have reading assignments due on Thursday, I went to Amazon and signed up for a six month free trial for Amazon Student. With this account, I was able to get all my books at competitive pricing with free two day shipping. Just make sure to select “Do not upgrade my account” under your account settings so that after 6 months you are not charged a fee.
While many students prefer having a hard copy of their books, e-books can be downloaded instantaneously and are often less expensive than other books. Many people think that you need an e-reader, such as a Kindle or a Nook to use online books. However, you can download apps like Kindle, Nook, and Google Books to your computer, and read and highlight the texts on your computer. Tablets can also work as e-readers. When you’re trying to get a hold of that book that you forgot to get, check online.
Many students would be surprised to learn that they can sometimes check out their books from the library. Using the library saved me about $70 this semester. However, library books are not loaned for the whole semester (unless you are an honors student), so make sure that you can read the book and take notes on it during the time you will have it. If the UW library does not have the book you need, you can see if UW can get it for you for free via interlibrary loan.
Not only is Night Heron Books an excellent place to study and grab some coffee, but it is also a place to look for books. Night Heron buys back used books from students and resells them. If you are taking a popular course at UW or Wyotech, chances are that Night Heron might have a used copy of your book.
Chegg is one of many rental textbook services available to students. If you are taking a class where you are sure you will not need the book in the future, rental is a great option to save some money. Chegg also offers free shipping and return shipping on all its rentals (although it is not as fast as Amazon’s two day shipping). Chegg has an easy-to-use website, and allows you to write and highlight in their books.
While most students complain about the cost of the bookstore, if you are a close textbook shopper, you will realize that often UW’s prices on used books and their rental prices are competitive with other markets. UW saves students' money by offering an in-store pickup, so no shipping is necessary. Books may be cheaper online, but there are also shipping fees associated with books that need to be calculated in.