This is a question that is often asked by first-time college students. Being a new college student can be overwhelming and intimidating. On top of adjusting to a new environment and navigating campus is the task of buying textbooks. For most incoming freshmen, this is a completely new experience. One of the biggest stressors when it comes to buying textbooks for the first time is not knowing the right time to purchase. Many students are left wondering, “When is the best time to buy textbooks?”
When to Order Textbooks
There is no exact “right” time to buy college textbooks, which can make the process a little more confusing for first-time buyers. When starting the process of buying college textbooks, a good rule of thumb is to wait until all syllabi are received with all required course materials listed.
Do You Have to Buy Textbooks Before Class Starts?
Unless you are required to complete an assignment or reading prior to the beginning of a course, it doesn’t hurt to wait until the first day of class to purchase textbooks. On the first day of class, most instructors will confirm which materials are provided and if there are any additional items that are needed that might have been left off of the syllabus. Sometimes professors will provide digital copies of required readings that are listed in the syllabus so that students do not have to purchase the whole book.
If you’re still asking yourself the question “What books do I need for college?” after reading the syllabus and attending the first day of class, reach out to your instructor(s) and they will confirm what is needed for their course. It never hurts to double check with your instructor so you can be sure you are getting everything that is required for success in the course.
In addition to buying textbooks outright, college students also have the ability to rent most textbooks at a cheaper price; however, this concept can be a little bit confusing for someone who has never rented a textbook before.
How Does Renting Textbooks Work?
Renting textbooks is actually pretty similar to renting a DVD or sports equipment. Once you’re done with it or your rental period is over you simply return it to the seller. An important thing to remember when it comes to renting textbooks is that most sellers will expect that the book is returned to them in a timely manner and in fairly good condition.
How Much Does it Cost to Rent Textbooks?
It’s no secret that most college students will do whatever they can to save money. For some, renting textbooks is a great way to save some money on what can be a pretty costly expense. According to Robert Farrington, the founder of The College Investor, “Renting textbooks is such a great deal because you can typically save 70% to 90% compared to buying the book new, and 50% or more compared to buying the book used.”
The College Board estimates that the average college student will spend $1,200 (at least) on textbooks per year. Renting textbooks whenever it is convenient for you will help you save some of that money in the long run. Aside from your college bookstore, there are several sites online that make it easy for you to rent textbooks at reduced prices.
Is Renting Textbooks a Good Idea?
Renting textbooks is a great option that will help you save some money; however, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best option for everyone. Before diving head first into renting all your textbooks, it’s important to think about your individual learning style and if it’s compatible with renting textbooks.
Here are a few things to consider before renting your textbooks:
1. Your Learning Style
Everyone has their own study habits that fit their style of learning. While some students can read material and remember concepts with minimal note taking, others prefer to take notes and highlight important details. The disadvantage of renting a textbook is that some rental services limit how much can be written, marked, or highlighted in the book. It is also a possibility that some services will expect the book to be returned with no markings and in pretty good condition.
If you are someone who likes to mark up a book or is hard on your textbooks, renting might not be the best option in the long run.
2. Long Term Use
While not every textbook you will use during college will be useful at a later date, it is a possibility that as you progress through your major course work you might need a book again. If you have a feeling that a certain book might be useful to you at a later date, it might be better to buy the book just in case.
3. Terms & Conditions of Rental Agreement
Before deciding to purchase your rentals, make sure to read all of the fine print and the terms and conditions of the rental agreement. In some cases, companies will charge late fees for rentals that are not returned on time. If you are not sure you will be able to return the book by the specified date, you should consider buying the book so you don’t have to worry about the extra late fees that can add up. Some companies might also charge for damages to the book, so if you are someone who tends to put a lot of wear and tear on a textbook it is worth it to consider buying the book. Most books you purchase can be sold back at the end of the semester.
Are Buying Books Worth It?
The price of textbooks is enough to make any college student wonder if it’s something they’ll actually need. Even if you don’t end up using your books a ton throughout the semester, it’s still worth it to have them handy just in case. Textbooks are an essential resource for many students and some assignments can’t be completed without them.
For more information on buying textbooks, check out our previous blog post about the Best Sites to Buy College Textbooks.
When it’s time to buy (or rent) your textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered. With 4.0 stars on Trustpilot, eCampus.com is the most trusted bookseller among the student community. You can save up to 90% on Textbook Rentals, Used & New Textbooks, and eTextbooks. eCampus.com also offers a great rewards program (eWards) that is designed to make it easier for students to save money by earning rewards and exclusive deals.
Be sure to connect with us @ecampusdotcom on Twitter, Instagram, & Facebook for more resources, tips, and some great giveaways! And when it’s time for textbooks, eCampus.com has you covered for all your course material needs at savings up to 90%!