Consumer Tips for Buying Textbooks  


Textbooks and course materials provide college students with vital information that they need to do well in class. However, with annual course materials costs approaching $700, smart shopping strategies can have a big impact on the final textbook tally. 

 

As a service to students everywhere, the National Association of College Stores (NACS) offers the following tips on how students can save on their textbook purchases, while retaining the ease, safety, and convenience of purchasing from the campus store.
 
  1. Become a fan of your campus store’s Facebook page and follow them on Twitter. Stores often give advance notice of   money-saving specials to followers or fans.
  2. Be cautious of hackers, spammers, and phishers when purchasing course materials online from outside/unknown sources. Items might not arrive on time, be incorrect, or not include required access codes. Don’t forget to consider shipping expenses in the total cost of the textbook, and check refund policies. Your local campus store guarantees the correct title and edition chosen by your instructor.
  3. Consider renting print or electronic textbooks. Almost all of NACS’ nearly 3,000 college store members offer such options, giving cost-conscious students access to course materials for about one-third to half the price of buying a new text.
  4. If multiple books are listed on a syllabus, check with the store to see if there are customized options that the professor, store, and publisher have created  that is less-expensive and contains only the content the professor requires.
  5. Look into buying used textbooks. College stores strive to provide as many used textbooks as possible, but they can sell out quickly. Shop the store early or buy directly from your college store’s web site to take advantage of used-book sales.
  6. Know your store’s refund policy, especially deadlines. This way, you won’t be disappointed if you drop a class.
  7.  Keep receipts. Most stores require them for returns. Also, textbook receipts are helpful during tax season when filing for the American Opportunity Tax Credit. For details on what to do and how to apply for the credit, go towww.textbookaid.org.
  8. Don’t write in or unwrap books until you’re certain you’ll be keeping them. Most sellers won’t offer full credit for books that have been marked or bundles that have been opened.
  9. When buying locally, consider paying cash or by debit card to avoid credit card fees and interest. But use a credit card when buying from online sellers in case disputes arise.
  10. If you have questions, ask! Your college store professional is the course material expert on campus, dedicated to helping you obtain all of the educational tools you need for academic success in the format you desire.

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