Addressing Textbook Pain (2 of 3)
Here I’ll let you in on two more ways to get cheaper textbooks. The bottom line? You can save a fair bit of money by getting a different edition of the book assigned to you. For instance…
While textbook price inflation has hit American campuses hard, it seems to affect foreign students much less so. Students in the United States might pay $150 for a science text that students Australia pay a mere $50 to obtain. The two different editions will often only have minor observable variations between the two (such as British spellings). As a result many stateside college students have taken to shopping for international editions of their textbooks to enjoy these savings. Shopping in foreign markets, via eBay and the websites of overseas booksellers such as abebooks.com, can save a student substantial amounts, even after factoring in overseas shipping fees.
When you read a syllabus, the professor will often not just assign a particular book, but a particular edition of a book. And it seems a slew of new editions comes along with every passing year. College textbook companies are famous for churning out minor alterations of old books under the guise of keeping the text’s information current. All too often this is a thinly veiled attempt to simply render the older editions needlessly obsolete, driving students to then forego the used book market and instead pony up funds at new book prices.
In many cases, feel free to buy an older edition book (now at bargain prices) in lieu of the updated one. Simply ask your professor if it much matters to have last year’s model or compare editions to see what sort of changes make up the newer edition. Much of the time all a publisher has done is add a few illustrations, a few updates, and switched around the pages. If your professor assigns readings by page number the material may be in a different place in the older editions, but it shouldn’t be hard to figure out what the reading assignment covers and find those passages in your edition. Granted, some subjects do require more frequent updates, and in the case of classes like political theory and current religious movements it may behoove you to stay abreast of these changes.
Stay tuned for part 3 of this series wherein we explore some other tips to save you hundreds of dollars on your textbooks.