How Do I Know When to Buy Textbooks?

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The following tips, originally posted at  StudentAwards Conversations, were contributed by students in our membership.

girl surrounded by textbooks and books
Photo by Oladimeji Odunsi via Unsplash
  1. Should I buy [textbooks] during the 1st week of classes when the prof lets us know what book he/she uses, or beforehand in the summertime? (posted by: greentea)
  2. You’ll know after the first lecture. ABSOLUTELY DO NOT BUY TEXTBOOKS UNTIL AFTER AT LEAST THE FIRST LECTURE. Also, try to get used textbooks. You will save lots of $$$ by doing this. (posted by: mynameismattgotmlgo)

Always, always, always wait to buy your textbooks. I always wait at least a week if not more. Sometimes, if you’re lucky and if the prof is reasonable, you don’t actually need to buy it. (posted by: ktel)

Buy them used from previous students (bookstore is likely to rip you off), and not until the 2nd/3rd week of class at the earliest. Lots of times you’ll realize you don’t even need to get the textbook and will save yourself lots of money that way. (posted by: inthemaking)

How Do I Know Which Edition of a Textbook to Buy?

The following tips, originally posted at  StudentAwards Conversations, were contributed by students in our membership.

Q. I want to buy used books, but I’m worried that when school starts the prof’s gonna have a newer edition of the book ready … how do I know what book and what edition is used? (posted by: greentea)

A. You can ask [profs] if they think the older edition will work for the class. They are usually accommodating and will let you know. (posted by: ktel)

Some courses … have what are called “course packs” which are materials that the prof puts together and sells in the bookstore. These are generally very important to buy, as they contain material that the prof considers important. (posted by: CatRunner)

For science courses, you will definitely need to buy lab manuals. They usually change year to year, so you can’t get away with using an old one, or borrowing one. (posted by: CatRunner)