Alternative textbook options available for students

Milicent Obbards

Textbook expenses are a sore subject for students each semester, coupled with tuition, lab fees and school supplies.
What’s a starving student to do? Ballpark figures for how much students spend on textbooks range from $400 to $1,100 quarterly, placing quite the dent in a student’s wallet. What are the options for saving money when it comes to purchasing the required materials?
MCC library supervisor Zepther Minns recommends starting right here on campus.
“Students are welcome to utilize the reserved textbooks on loan by instructors, (but) since various departments donate the books, not every textbook will be available.”
Students also run the risk that the textbook may already be in use. Students with a library card or student ID are welcome to the reserved books under a limited one to three hour viewing. Reserved textbooks cannot leave the library, so copies are permitted.
An ultra-modern option in the textbook industry is renting. Most Web sites, such as Chegg.com and Bookrenter.com, lease textbooks for a semester or longer, and costs vary. Suggested savings are anywhere from 65-85 percent. Chegg.com usually ships books within 1-2 days at the expense of the borrower, with return postage being free.
Students are offered buy-out options at the end of the semester with a 30 day return policy. Chegg.com will also plant one tree for every book students rent.
Lastly, the option most students are accustomed to is purchasing textbooks. A cost comparison was conducted with “Microsoft Office 2007: Intro to Concepts and Techniques,” a textbook most students will become familiar with through general study requirements at MCC. MCC’s own campus bookstore was found to offer the most expensive version, $141 new, with no used copies available. This is an 18 percent mark up over the publisher’s price. The Textbook Company located across the street from MCC’s Southern and Dobson campus, offered $106.50 for a new edition, and $80 for used, a seemingly good deal. Amazon.com was $100.76 new and $74 used, but this excluded the shipping costs. The best deal found was on bigwords.com. The Web site listed the used book in good condition, at $38.49, a 68 percent savings off the publisher’s price.
Bigwords.com is a bargain shoppers delight with an average savings of 66 percent on textbooks. The company’s claim to fame, “BIGWORDS compares all the best textbook stores at once finding the sweetest, cheapest textbook deals on the planet.” Bigwords is beneficial to students looking for the most bang for their limited buck, guaranteed delivery dates and convenience of online shopping.

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