A new school year brings with it new opportunities, new friends, and new experiences. Unfortunately, it also brings the need for new textbooks, which can lead to a new dent in your wallet. To soften the blow, here are a few places to check out first before forking over your dough at the bookstore.
BookMooch.com – A book swapping website. I love BookMooch. You list books you want to give away, other users request them and then you mail them out. For each book you give away you receive a point that you can then use to request books from other people. All you pay is the two or three dollar shipping cost when you send books. I’ve been using BookMooch for a year now and it works really well. Textbooks are hard to find, but you can get lucky.
Bookswap.com – The name is misleading: not actually a book swapping site like BookMooch, bookswap.com is a place where students sell their used textbooks for cheap. It searches by location which is nice. If the seller is only a few miles away, the buyer can save on shipping by picking up the book himself.
Search PDFs- Sometimes you can find free digital copies of public domain books simply by searching “[name of book].pdf” in Google. This is always hit-and-miss. Sometimes you will find PDFs that you need to pay for in order to view, which may or may not be worth it.
Google Books – books.google.com is a catalog of free digitized books. Due to copyright laws it may be tough to find digitized textbooks, but when you search for a book Google Books does not have, it will recommend libraries in your area that do. Google Books is nice for textbooks you know you will only need for a short period of time.
Inter-library Loan – Check out the inter-library loan program at your library. Most are statewide. Find a library that has the book you are looking for, fill out a form, and in a week or so the library will email you to let you know your book has arrived. This is useful for book reports, textbooks, and even casual reading.
While these options aren’t guaranteed to get you out of having to put down money for textbooks, they are definitely worth a try. Most of them are great for any paperbacks you’d like to read in your spare time, too. Just remember, in order to find textbooks in time for class, you will have to act fast!