By Sam Palmisano
Textbooks are a major expense that every student worries about as soon as classes start.
For many general education courses, you can skate through by renting cheap books from the bookstore; however, once upper level classes come around, books at the bookstore can start to cost upwards of $500 depending on your program.
The first place you should always look is on- line for a free PDF copy of the book. Textbooks that are widely used or popular novels can usually be found online through a free third-party site. When I first discovered this, I realized that every single book I’d used for the past three semesters had been available as a free PDF.
Another great free option is the bookshelf directly outside of the FGCU Writing Center.The shelf is full of donated textbooks and novels from previous students.
Yet another free resource is the library. The FGCU library has an extensive collection of both academic and fiction books that are often underutilized. Local public libraries also have their own selections. If you find the book at another school or library, there is often a way to have it loaned out to you for the duration of the semester.
If you can’t find a free version of the book, there is still a decent chance you can find it cheaper somewhere else. Chegg, Amazon, and eBay have cheap options for most textbooks, and they are usually able to ship it straight to you by the end of the week.
If you absolutely need the book right away, make sure you compare the online price with the bookstore. The bookstore should price match any cheaper option as long as you can verify that it’s available elsewhere.
For an in-person option, Textbook Brokers is available in the Grande Oaks Shopping Center at the intersection of Estero and Ben Hill Griffin. Textbook Brokers offers a number of new and used options that can provide a cheaper alternative.
If your class requires an online access code for an e-book, be sure to check if the host company provides a cheaper option for buying it directly through them. The access code will come with the e-book and access to the online software, and they’ll usually have a cheap discount if you still want a physical copy of the book.
There is also a widely used education company, has released a new subscription for students to take advantage of. For a one-time fee, students can subscribe on a semester or year-round basis to their entire digital library of textbooks and educational software.
As syllabus week progresses, make sure to be checking all of your options to be sure you’re not paying any more than you have to for textbooks.