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College books are killer

jungleroomxjungleroomx Aaron Hernandez shot methrough the heartRegistered User regular
edited August 2010 in Help / Advice Forum
I need some college books. 2 to be exact. I'm attending class while on active duty in the Army, and due to a credit transfer from hell I pretty much gotta start from scratch (Only 3 core classes from my 6 transferred).

So I signed up for a few classes, public speaking and a comp sci intro course. The public speaking book is $90, and the 2 comp sci courses (Technology in action or whatever and the MyITLAb pin or whatever) are going to be running me $260.

Is there a cheaper alternative to college bookstores and even Amazon?

jungleroomx on
Spoiler:

Posts

  • EshEsh Sunshine! Kittens! Rainbows! Smiles! Portland, ORRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    "At first he thought it might be a natural occurrence - maybe a rabbit. But upon closer inspection, it was clear a knife had been used. And rabbits don't carry knives."
  • HerkimerHerkimer Registered User
    edited August 2010
    Usually college bookstores will sell used copies of required textbooks, often at 50% off or more. As long as you're using the same edition, you should be good to go. Required books will also often be carried in your school's library.

  • jungleroomxjungleroomx Aaron Hernandez shot me through the heartRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Herkimer wrote: »
    Usually college bookstores will sell used copies of required textbooks, often at 50% off or more. As long as you're using the same edition, you should be good to go. Required books will also often be carried in your school's library.

    I found one of the books as a digital copy.

    I also found both of the tech books ridiculously cheap ($110 for both) on Abebooks. Most of the reviews seem extremely positive aside from reseller comments, any knowledge here?

    Also, the comp sci books have discs, one of them has a unique PIN number thats required to use the MyITLab or whatever program (as horrible as it sounds from reviews), so I may not have a choice.

    Spoiler:
  • ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    What I did during college (especially during the first two years) is buy the edition previous to the most recent edition. So if the most recent edition is the 7th I bought the 6th. The books are nearly identical, but it helps if you can compare them to find out if you're going to miss anything. This nearly always worked for me, but there were some occasions where I was missing a chapter or two. Usually the chapter was not missing, but it was in a different part of the book. Also some books this just couldn't be done, but that was because the class required a custom text.

    I did this because while it was rarely a hassle it saved me an enormous amount of money. Usually text books that are an edition behind cost literally pennies. My Cultural Anthropology books cost me more in shipping than the books themselves. The text was identical and I think I paid about 25 cents for both books. If you go this route just do some extra research so you know what to expect.

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  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Herkimer wrote: »
    Usually college bookstores will sell used copies of required textbooks, often at 50% off or more. As long as you're using the same edition, you should be good to go. Required books will also often be carried in your school's library.

    I found one of the books as a digital copy.

    I also found both of the tech books ridiculously cheap ($110 for both) on Abebooks. Most of the reviews seem extremely positive aside from reseller comments, any knowledge here?

    Also, the comp sci books have discs, one of them has a unique PIN number thats required to use the MyITLab or whatever program (as horrible as it sounds from reviews), so I may not have a choice.

    Yeah, a lot of college books are moving to "one-time-use" serial codes for online course content (which professors of course use) to prevent the use of used/international/what-have-you books. It's pretty fucked up.

    I used Abebooks one semester. I had a positive experience. I also used textbooksrus, and they were good as well. I even had to do a return with them (an international edition whose homework problems didn't line up with the domestic version...they had been sneaky and done an update without calling it a whole new edition), and they were great about it.

    Spoiler:
  • mcdermottmcdermott Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Oh, and international editions are the bomb. They're generally the same shit, at a fraction of the price. The only things that'll generally vary are the cover, and that they're generally of cheaper construction (standard paper instead of glossy, shitty binding, etc) than the local edition. But when you're paying $20 for a brand new book that runs $100 used locally...well, that works just fine.

    Spoiler:
  • ShogunShogun Hair long; money long; me and broke wizards we don't get along Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Oh, and international editions are the bomb. They're generally the same shit, at a fraction of the price. The only things that'll generally vary are the cover, and that they're generally of cheaper construction (standard paper instead of glossy, shitty binding, etc) than the local edition. But when you're paying $20 for a brand new book that runs $100 used locally...well, that works just fine.

    I'm gonna toss a vote in for this and instructor's editions. I paid almost nothing for an instructor's version of my micro-econ book. While the instructor's part was completely useless to me the text and problems were all identical.

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  • MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Boston, MARegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Get the previous to the used edition. From a guy who's completed nursing school once and is anesthesia graduate school.

    A few of my classmates have used the previous editions or the 'international edition' and saved nearly 75% off my price (buying new or used) and are doing just fine in the classes.

    I am in the business of saving lives.

    camo_sig2.png
  • jungleroomxjungleroomx Aaron Hernandez shot me through the heartRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Update:

    For a set of books that would have cost me $340 at the college bookstore, I ended up paying $90 for all of them. Thanks everyone.

    Spoiler:
  • MegaMan001MegaMan001 CRNA Boston, MARegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Update:

    For a set of books that would have cost me $340 at the college bookstore, I ended up paying $90 for all of them. Thanks everyone.

    WOO! Yay for public education!

    I am in the business of saving lives.

    camo_sig2.png
  • oldsakoldsak Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Good Job. For future reference, I found many of my textbooks when I was a compsci major in undergrad on ebay. You can get paperback versions printed on recycled paper meant for sale in India for really cheap.

  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    Herkimer wrote: »
    Usually college bookstores will sell used copies of required textbooks, often at 50% off or more. As long as you're using the same edition, you should be good to go. Required books will also often be carried in your school's library.

    Seriously? They are like 10% off the new price here. I wish it was at LEAST 20% then it'd make it worth it for me.

    To the OP I use www.half.com for my book purchases and haven't been burned yet, and I've been buying them from there for about 5 years now.

    Games completed recently: The Witcher, Resident Evil 4: HD Edition, Typing of the Dead: Overkill, Sleeping Dogs, Dishonored.
  • jungleroomxjungleroomx Aaron Hernandez shot me through the heartRegistered User regular
    edited August 2010
    With the money I saved on textbooks I was able to get Starcraft II and an old IBM Thinkpad for a programming laptop guilt-free, and still came out ahead on where I would've been if I had bought those books new.

    Spoiler:
  • KlorgnumKlorgnum Registered User
    edited August 2010
    (Technology in action or whatever and the MyITLAb pin or whatever) are going to

    MyITLab? You have my sympathies. I've never used it, but I know people who have had to, and a teaching assistant for the course that used it. I've heard it's a huge headache and freezes/crashes a lot. Make sure you budget extra time for that course's assignments, no matter how easy they look.

  • LadyMLadyM Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    I've heard there's a way to get around the "you MUST buy our book from the bookstore because of the serial code" thing. I think the guy said he'd buy the book, log in using the serial code for the first time, return the book to the bookstore, and buy a used copy online.

    I've never tried this myself (never had to, no serial codes at my school), so YMMV, but worth looking into.

    Also, BigWords.com is awesome, you input your desired book's ISBN number and it trolls Half.com, Amazon, and a bunch of bookstore sites searching for the best deals for you. You can also use it to sell your books back. Awesome.

  • urahonkyurahonky Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    LadyM wrote: »
    I've heard there's a way to get around the "you MUST buy our book from the bookstore because of the serial code" thing. I think the guy said he'd buy the book, log in using the serial code for the first time, return the book to the bookstore, and buy a used copy online.

    I've never tried this myself (never had to, no serial codes at my school), so YMMV, but worth looking into.

    Also, BigWords.com is awesome, you input your desired book's ISBN number and it trolls Half.com, Amazon, and a bunch of bookstore sites searching for the best deals for you. You can also use it to sell your books back. Awesome.

    This doesn't work all the time because the companies usually shrink wrap the books with serial codes, and/or they look to see if it's been torn open.

    Games completed recently: The Witcher, Resident Evil 4: HD Edition, Typing of the Dead: Overkill, Sleeping Dogs, Dishonored.
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Registered User regular
    edited August 2010
    mcdermott wrote: »
    Oh, and international editions are the bomb. They're generally the same shit, at a fraction of the price. The only things that'll generally vary are the cover, and that they're generally of cheaper construction (standard paper instead of glossy, shitty binding, etc) than the local edition. But when you're paying $20 for a brand new book that runs $100 used locally...well, that works just fine.

    Is there an easy way to find these? Can I punch in the ISBN number of my textbooks somewhere and be given the ISBN of the international edition? Or teacher's edition?

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    WiiU: Windrunner ; Guild Wars 2: Shadowfire.3940 ; PSN: Bradcopter
  • KlorgnumKlorgnum Registered User
    edited August 2010
    urahonky wrote: »
    LadyM wrote: »
    I've heard there's a way to get around the "you MUST buy our book from the bookstore because of the serial code" thing. I think the guy said he'd buy the book, log in using the serial code for the first time, return the book to the bookstore, and buy a used copy online.

    I've never tried this myself (never had to, no serial codes at my school), so YMMV, but worth looking into.

    Also, BigWords.com is awesome, you input your desired book's ISBN number and it trolls Half.com, Amazon, and a bunch of bookstore sites searching for the best deals for you. You can also use it to sell your books back. Awesome.

    This doesn't work all the time because the companies usually shrink wrap the books with serial codes, and/or they look to see if it's been torn open.

    And if it does work, it screws over the next guy who buys it once it's been repackaged by the store.

  • FoodAddictFoodAddict Registered User
    edited August 2010
    Depends on the school, professor, and how far you're willing to go out of your way but here's one alternative:

    Check if your college library carries textbooks on reserve. If there is such a system and your professors put in the extra copies, you could check out the textbook for a few hours at a time.

    It's a long-ass shot that could only work out well if your school is set up like mine, and you don't mind studying as I did (spend a few hrs @ library everyday to do homework and make outlines of that day's chapters). Tends to work better for intro and breadth classes as their books are rarely worth buying. A friend bought a microeconomics book still in original shrink-wrap. Of course, there was a no refund policy. -_-

    If that doesn't work out for you (quite likely), shamelessly ask friends and acquaintances if they took your classes last semester/quarter. Everybody wins: it's cheaper for you than used text from your bookstore, and they get more money than what bookstores offer.

  • MPCanesMPCanes Registered User
    edited August 2010
    www.chegg.com is also pretty good i've heard

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