A lot of students have questions about textbooks.  Generally, the best answer to 90% of such questions is “Ask the instructor!”  However, there are some useful tips to pass on to students:

Required vs Recommended

Buy the required books immediately, wait to see what the instructor says about recommended.

Buying the Books

The university has a contract with Barnes and Noble to run the bookstore on campus.  So – all opportunities to buy textbooks when students register etc end up being with the campus bookstore.  So, if money is not an object, the easiest thing for the students to do is to sign up online in this way.

Always opt for used books where possible.

There is one other bookstore by campus that get the book lists.    Textbook Brokers are across from the rec center.  They have the smallest collection but usually the best prices.  At the end of the semester, they also buy back a lot of “books” that the other will not.

In addition, the thrifty student will often be able to find very good deals at amazon.com or other online sources.  In addition, especially for literature classes, second-hand stores around town (especially Half-Price books) are good places to look.

A lot of courses have books on reserve at the library.  This is usually NOT a good permanent alternative to buying a textbook.  However, if a book is particularly heavy, students might want to use the library version while on campus, leaving their copy at home to study there.  Of course, if the book is more of a reference book, then the library copy is a great resource.

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