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Textbook tips for post secondary education

Textbook tips for post secondary education

Post-secondary educational expenses can add up quickly with student tuition fees and course materials. It was shocking to see the prices of textbooks in my first year, especially as you have to keep up with multiple required readings for each class.

So how can you get the most for your money?

Rather than blowing your savings at the school bookstore, the truth is, you can often save some cash by following a few simple tips and experimenting with some alternatives:

Buying Books from Student Groups 

A great place to start your search if you are interested in getting the physical copy of your textbook is looking in student-run groups and chats. 

Facebook is a great tool to use when looking for used textbooks. To stay connected, students have created groups based on their graduating year and post-secondary institution. Within these chats students sell their used textbooks as well as share posts to find new ones. You can score a great deal by using these groups. Best part is you can sell it right back into this chat once your semester is done!

Looking for free online PDFs

Many class texts can be found online in an electronic PDF version. Even if your syllabus asks for a specific  version of a textbook, reach out to your professor and ask if you can use an older version for class.  As newer editions of a textbook are published, the older versions tend to be released online. 

In most cases, the differences are not significant between the versions. The newer versions often have small edits and different page numbers than the previous edition. 

To find any textbook, start by searching it on Google, using its name or ISBN number. 

There are also a number of really helpful websites that have a catalogue of free content. I personally used Z Library. It’s free and this resource saved me a lot of money! 

Renting and Buying Online Textbooks

When purchasing required course texts, students are directed to purchase from the campus bookstore. The bookstore largely sells class texts in physical copies which tend to be pricier. Depending on the textbook, your bookstore may sell a used copy of the text. However, online textbooks are highly recommended since you have the ability to search key words, and bookmark content instantly. 

A number of companies offer students the option to rent or buy textbooks through their platform. 

These companies work with universities and publishers to bring digital copies to their site.  Vital Source is a company I have rented textbooks from in the past. In my opinion, the prices are reasonable, and it takes away the hassle of storing and selling physical copies. My favorite part about Vital Source was that you could download their app and access your textbooks from multiple devices. 

If you would like to share a textbook with some classmates and split the cost, this is a great option!