View Full Version : Do you purchase all your books before classes begin?

Lynn CC
05-04-2005, 03:34 PM
When DS was at his orientation, the seniors at the college told him it wasn't necessary to purchase all the books for each class, since he may only need a chapter out of the book. They suggested he go to the library and copy the pages he needs, unless he was going to use the book a lot. They said sometimes you have to buy 6 or more books for one class.
He wants to buy them all once he gets his schedule this June.
What do all you college students do about purchasing books? Do you get them at the bookstore at your college?

05-04-2005, 03:46 PM
My DS is just finishing up his freshman year. It was our experience that books weren't even available in the campus bookstore until just prior to the start of each semester - and actually, book lists weren't available much sooner either. DS went to the bookstore in the week prior to the start of his first semester, and bought books then. He did the same thing for second semester, taking a day out of his xmas break to go. This worked well for him because his school is only an hour away. We found that by buying the books early, he had the best chance of getting some 2nd hand books in excellent condition. He did buy every book required, occasionally needed to buy another, and also did end up returning a couple that profs said weren't necessary. At the end of his first semester, he "sold back" some text books that the bookstore would take (i guess if they offer the class again, they'll take books back). He's planning to do the same after finals. Any books that are in his major, or he really found useful, he's keeping. Good luck to your son.

05-04-2005, 03:50 PM
I dont get them all at my college bookstore. They charge you way too much. I have found used text book stores around town that sell used texts book for at least half the price of a new book, and the books never look used. I have in the past bought books before classes start, and all the books that are on my list, the price adds up and more than half the time you dont use the whole book. Im not sure about what the return policy is on books at his college, but for mine if you dont open the book you can return it up to 2 weeks after the class starts. Hope this helps.


05-04-2005, 04:30 PM
For his first semester I would have him buy all of his books and after that just have him ask his Professors what books are going to be used a lot. That is what I should have done this semster.

05-04-2005, 04:41 PM
I usually don't buy my books until a couple of weeks into the semester, except for the ones we may actually be using right at the beginning.

Honestly, most of them don't get read until the two days before the test anyhow. If at all. Upper division Poli Sci, most Public Administration, and just about all Foreign Language, Math and English (of course) tend to actually use their books. Other classes...well, he'll figure it out after a couple of semesters once he's taken a few classes and knows what departments tend to do what (This is where sorority sisters/fraternity brothers tend to become invaluable :)).

05-04-2005, 04:42 PM
buy used ones online!! that's the cheapest and best way to get your books. amazon is a great place to find vendors that are selling BRAND NEW books for half the cost! it's awesome! i usually end up selling my used books on amazon after the classes are over, the college bookstore gives awful return rates.

it is true that sometimes i buy i book for a class and never end up using it. there's nothing that angers me more... especially when it's a really expensive book for one of my science classes that the professor requires. :flower: in that case, i usually sell it either within my school (we've got a for sale forum in our webmail) or on amazon.

05-04-2005, 04:57 PM
My Freshmen year I bought all of my books prior to the semester starting, however when I was done I had like 3-4 books that we NEVER used, and since they had new editions coming out I couldn't sell them back pirate: After that I've always waited until at least after the first class meeting. Normally profs will tell you what books you actually need, how much of the book you will need, and when you will need it. If the prof doesn't answer that in lecture, it is almost always in the syllabus. I've found that buying books this way is actually much easier. Most people have the mentality of having to have everything before the semester starts, so actually miss a lot of the crowds when you go to buy books. Plus this also gives time for whatever the bookstore sells out of to get back in stock. Another side note: If possible, ALWAYS buy USED books. They're cheaper, and often the really imporant (test) information just seems to look slightly different, making it easier to study :rolleyes1

05-04-2005, 06:01 PM
I ordered all my books before my first semester started. What a waste. I only used like...3 of them and a few of them I wasn't able to even sell back. Second semester I was smart and waited until after classes to purchase books and saved more money. Sometimes when professors list books, it is more of a supplemental reading thing, like if you want to know more or are interested in the subject (I don't know why they do this, it has just been my experience this year). I would wait until after the first few days of class to find out if you really need them or not. I also agree with what SoonerKate said, this is where my older sorority sisters really helped me out second semester telling me what to buy and what not to.

05-04-2005, 09:49 PM
I buy almost all my books on amazon.com and half.com

they are ALWAYS cheaper than the bookstore

05-04-2005, 10:21 PM
buy used online. I would also reccomend waiting until the first day of class when the professor hands out a syllabus since this will have an updated list of what is going to be "used" in class. Unless your son is really going to read/do the homework out of the book I would say skip buying them all together. Most campus libraries have the books in the lib and you can read them there. If he decides he really needs the book, he can always get it in the book store or buy online then.

05-06-2005, 07:23 PM
*nods in agreement with buying used*.

and remember to sell them back to the campus bookstore at the end of the semester. Many professors reuse books for the next semester and they will pay up to 50% of the cover price. And if youve already bought them used, your making a good profit. You could sell them again online but doing i find most of my friends make more money just selling it to the school, and you save money on postage.

05-07-2005, 06:23 PM
I get all the books at the beginning of the semester a)because the ncaa pays for it in my scholarship, and b)because when you sell them back, even though you don't get **** for them, that is good bar money at the end of the semester!

05-07-2005, 08:55 PM
Buy used online and SELL ONLINE! College bookstores hardly pay anything, if at all. I'm sorry but $10 for a book I paid almost $100 for is ridiculous. Sell them on half.com or amazon, and they only charge a small fee. Just make sure you get delivery confirmation and you're good to go. I spend so much less this way (saved over $300 this semester) and get back so much more as well. If I went to the bookstore right now with my books, I'd get maybe $50 total if I was lucky. Online, I know I'll make at least $100. :flower:

05-07-2005, 10:06 PM
I buy them the week school starts since we don't get to know them until then. I usually buy my books used. But this semester I didn't find any used, so had to buy them new. O_o Buying online is sometimes good, but sometimes with the shipping the cheap prices go up for me.

05-08-2005, 08:57 AM
Definately buy used books, you will save a ton of money! I don't buy my books until the day after of during the first week of classes. My professors have a tendancy to put down more books then we actually need, so i waste a lot of money, and with my school, you can't return them full price.

05-08-2005, 02:22 PM
i got paid alot more money than $10 a book at my bookstore when i sold them back.

05-08-2005, 09:21 PM
I get all the books at the beginning of the semester a)because the ncaa pays for it in my scholarship, and b)because when you sell them back, even though you don't get **** for them, that is good bar money at the end of the semester!

I thought that if your books were paid through an athletic scholarship, you weren't allowed to keep the money when they were sold back?

05-08-2005, 11:24 PM
I try to get all the booklists about 3 weeks before classes start by emailing the professors so I can sit down with my parents and figure out how much money i am going to be spending on books.
Then between amazon.com, half.com, and barnes and noble.com, I buy all of my books unless it is a course packet which i have to get at the university bookstore.
I have all of them shipped to my UB box at the university because they start accepting packages about 3 weeks before school starts and then i pick them up when i get back to campus.

05-09-2005, 08:48 AM
I work at a college bookstore...........you might want to see if his school has a "textbook reservation" program. He can put his order in now for the fall along with credit card or e-card information. (Just make sure there is enough $$ left on the card to process the transaction--I cant tell you how many people use their ecard and they didnt put any money on it yet!!) The books are pulled by the bookstore staff ahead of time and are ready to pick up the weekend before classes begin. This way, he doesn't have to deal with trying to find the book himself, and waiting on long lines--just pick up the box and leave.

Any books that he may not need can be returned up to two weeks after classes start--just dont unwrap the shrinkwrap off any books unless he knows he is keeping them...............

05-09-2005, 10:09 AM
I have always been one of those people who buys the book for the class, even if it isn't used. However, I typically always use the book at some point, either as a reference for papers or trying to figure out certain problems, etc. My biggest problem was that I was a computer science major, so it was very common for the books to change every semester, which meant we had to buy new books.

I definately recommend purchasing used books online at amazon.com or half.com. I just ordered a book that was in our bookstore (used) for $65 and I got it (used) for $35 at half.com. Just make sure before you order that you definately need the book and that you confirm with the instructor the ISBN of the text for that semester so that you don't get the wrong book.

If you buy the book at the campus bookstore, check the return policy of the books. You typically have a week or 2 to return the books after the first day of class (just make sure you keep those receipts). I purchased a book at the bookstore and then searched online and found the book MUCH cheaper and ordered it. So then I just read a couple of chapters to cover the first week of classes, and returned that book to the bookstore.