Students should look around to find the best book prices

Story and photo by James Harley

It’s back to school time, the time that every student is totally pumped for: listening to hours of lectures, looking through pages of notes you hardly remember taking, and studying a textbook you paid over $100 for.

Every full-time college student has to spend money on textbooks at some point in his or her college career. Whether it’s for math, science, history or any other class, there’s almost always a required book.

For students at Clackamas, there are several different options when it comes to purchasing books. The bookstore is likely the most convenient place for students to go, but for those wanting to buy a book brand new, it is a little spendy.

When I have purchased textbooks, I have bought them mostly through the bookstore. I always check there first to see if the book I need has a used version, which tends to cost much less than brand new. The bookstore can rent out books as well. One thing about the bookstore that many students tend to forget is that books bought there can be returned at the end of the term for some money back.

Many other students I have asked find themselves looking on Amazon for books. From my personal experience I find that a lot of the books from Amazon are not too much cheaper. Then there’s waiting for it to ship compared with the convenience of getting the book immediately at the bookstore. However, with Amazon Prime’s half-off membership for students, two-day shipping is free.

I have also personally looked online for textbooks, and have bought electronic versions that I can view on my computer or tablet. This has its own pros and cons, and really comes down to preference as many students would rather have a physical textbook to highlight words and take notes in.

Another option is getting books through the Associated Student Government. They have a book exchange, which lasts about the first two weeks of each term. The book exchange allows students to put their books up for sale, and purchase books that other students put up for sale. If a student’s book sells, they keep the money. If it doesn’t, then the student gets the book back.

ASG also has a lending library they set up in the Community Center, which allows students to rent books for $20 a term. However, the book exchange and lending library only have a select number of books to choose from. It’s possible that a particular book may not be there, but I recommend still checking it out to see if it is.

If any of these options don’t work, it is always useful to check with instructors and other students to see if a textbook is actually needed to get through a class. I have easily passed some classes such as Math 111 without using the textbook, but instead using other resources such as the math lab to learn and study the material. However, it depends on how the instructor runs the class as to whether the book is necessary or not. It’s always good to double check.

Unless college textbooks suddenly and miraculously become free, many students will have to face the challenge of handing over a large chunk of money to pay for them. Until then, if students need to buy books, there will be plenty of places to look.

James Harley