Buying Your Books

You can buy your books from the campus bookstore before classes begin. You’ll find your class listed on a card attached to a shelf in the bookstore. Usually, the shelves are stacked alphabetically by department, so all the accounting books will be on one shelf, all the history books on another . . . all the way down to zoology. Some books will be “optional,” meaning your professor isn’t requiring you to buy them. New books should cost you about $400 a semester.

Buy your books as soon as you know what classes you’re taking. The bookstore becomes a zoo once classes start, and you’ll be ticked off waiting in a two-hour line while holding fifty pounds of books. If you buy the wrong book or drop a class, you can usually make a return, so keep your receipt. Most campus bookstores (and those nearby that serve campuses) have return deadlines, so be sure to ask about the return policy.

Avoid buying optional books until after the first day of classes, when you’ll have a better sense of what you really need. Textbooks are very expensive, so you want to avoid the additional expense if you can.

Used Books

Fortunately, most campus bookstores do sell used books, which can cut your costs by about 30 percent. There will generally be a used textbook store near campus too, or you can find used books online. The cool thing about used books is that someone has generally highlighted the important stuff for you, and made notes in the margins. One less thing for you to do! Of course, some moron may have had the book before you and highlighted all of the wrong stuff, so don’t rely entirely on someone else’s study skills, or lack thereof. You can usually sell your books back at the end of the term unless they’re too defaced or wrecked to be used again.

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