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The Textbook Dilemma

Textbooks can be a costly college requirement, but if you shop wisely you can save big and have more money for the rest of the semester.

Buy used. The college bookstore usually offers a limited number of used textbooks, but even more used books can be found online. Web sites such as Half.com and Amazon.com have huge selections of used textbooks. Be sure to shop around to find the best prices because even the prices of new textbooks may vary. Do not forget to take into account shipping costs when ordering online.

Shop locally. After you choose your classes for a new semester, ask around to see if anyone you know is currently taking any of the classes you signed up for. They may be willing to sell their books to you at the end of the semester for a price much cheaper than the bookstore.

Share. If you are taking a class with a friend, find out if he would be willing to share textbooks with you. This cuts the costs in half and can be a huge money saver. Just be sure to work out a schedule for studying beforehand.

Downsize. If textbooks for a class are sold in a bundle, find out if you really need everything in the bundle before purchasing it. You may not need everything and you will save money by buying only what is necessary for class. If you do buy a bundle of textbooks, do not open them until you are sure that you need them – bundles often cannot be returned after they are opened.

Sell back. The bookstore always buys back textbooks at the end of the semester, but they only buy them back if they will be required for a class in the upcoming semester. However, used textbooks can always be resold online. Take good care of your textbooks because the better condition they are in, the more money they will sell for.

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