- Always rent. Let me repeat that. Always rent. The likely-hood of you needing to actually refer to a college textbook again is so rare and if you truly need that information it should be in your notes. Of course there are exceptions but as a general rule you should always rent.
- Check around for the best price. SlugBooks and bigwords.com are two really helpful sites that comparison-shop for you.
- Only get required books. If it's recommended that you have a certain book, don't waste your money initially. You can always get it later if you feel like you really need it.
- Find out if you need an access code. Access codes are the man's way of taking college students for all they are worth! Don't get trapped by the man. Email your professor to find out if he plans on using the code and if he does, see if you can get it for less from places like Amazon instead of from the publisher. It is usually less expensive to rent the book and buy the access code separately.
- Ask if you can use an earlier edition. Don't think that you need to have the most up to date version of the book. Most of the time there are only minor changes from one edition to another so getting an earlier edition can save you a ton of money. Once again, just email your professor to find out.
- Even better, borrow. Ask around to see if any of your friends or a friend's friend has taken the course and is willing to loan you the book or rent it to you. It helps to make older friends in your major so you can learn from them and so you can get dibs on their books.
P.S. This post was also featured on The Preppy Mag!