In the beginning of every semester comes the time to buy textbooks. It is always a frustrating part of starting classes.
You have to wade through your classes, find out what textbooks you need and, worst of all, pay for them. Paying for textbooks is always tough on a college student. College students, who historically have small amounts of money to spend, usually find it difficult to buy these expensive textbooks.

A student buys an expensive textbook from a bookstore, hoping he or she will be able to sell it back later. Once the time comes, students get a rude awakening when they get about a fourth of what they paid for or, sometimes, a new addition of the book comes out that makes all other editions worthless.

There is a good chance you will find yourself never using the textbook during the semester. A professor may only assign a textbook because they get royalties whenever that textbook is bought.

It is always difficult buying textbooks for a new year. The good news is that there are ways around paying an arm and a leg for a textbook.

Buying online has become popular in this digital age. Buying textbooks is no different. Amazon and eBay have personally tailored their websites to accommodate for students’ college needs. You can just type in the ISBN number from a textbook and the site will bring that book up for you. The prices on these sites are much better than the bookstore. For example, the textbook, College Algebra with Trigonometry, sells for $114 used in the bookstore. On Amazon, you can buy the book for $61 used. This is just one instance of how much you can save online. You can also sell back the book online for the same price at which you bought it. So in certain instances, you do not lose any money.

There are downsides to buying online. You have to order a good two or three weeks before classes start. This is for two reasons: delivery can take weeks, and sometimes the orders can be incorrect because of a seller mistake.

The pros still outweigh the cons in regards to buying textbooks online. As long as you are prepared when ordering, then no real harm can come from ordering online. I would rather do a little early shopping than pay twice as much for textbooks.

Professors can also help alleviate students’ money troubles. They could make sure that the textbooks are needed for the class. Books should not be assigned just for the sake of assigning books. A professor should make sure the textbook has pertinent information for the class that best explains the class’s content. Let’s be honest: many times a textbook has been all but useless in a clsss. If a professor does use a certain textbook in class, he or she should make sure that it is used for in-class or out-of-class assignments.

Also, if possible, the professor should post the information online in D2L or on some other site. Many professors have taken this initiative for their classes. Textbooks can be out of stock or lost by a student. This works for the professor, because it ensures that everyone in the class always has the information to utilize.

Textbooks will always drain students’ incomes. It has been this way for many years and will most likely continue to be this way. But luckily, the dawn of the Internet enables professors to help students and students to help themselves. Now students are not at the mercy of high bookstore prices. Ingenuity in saving money can go a long way. That is the beauty of the Internet. It gives a person the chance to not be forced to deal with a single company. They can now find new oppurtunites.

Jack Barnett is a fourth-year student majoring in history and political science. He can be reached at JB723722@wcupa.edu

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