I bought most of my books last night and spent $544.14. I’m expecting to shell out another $250 to $300 for the remaining books. I used the following sites to compare book prices (listed in descending order of helpfulness):
The worst part about this whole book buying process is that many of the latest editions of my required textbooks cost at least $30 while the previous editions cost only a fraction of the price.
Example: I just bought a book for $181. The previous edition of that same book, which was published in 2006 (seriously, how much could have changed in 5 years?) costs six dollars with shipping.
The second worst part of this process is ordering from Half.com. I’ve ordered from them before, but never needed any customer service help. Today called because I have a question about my order. Apparently, even if you call their toll free number, which I’m not going to bother posting because of its overall uselessness, it’s impossible to talk to a real person. If you decide to ignore my warning and order from Half.com anyway, here’s a code to get 15% off of orders of $50 dollars or more: BTSAF15. Good luck.
If you don’t want to buy all of your books, you also have the option of renting your books. The sites listed above will also show results of books for rent. From what I saw, it may be worth it to rent if you are (1) absolutely certain that you don’t want to keep your books (duh) and (2) if you know how long you will need to keep them. Books are generally rented by quarter or semester periods. If there’s a chance that you will need to re-rent your book, it’s probably not worth renting it because it will probably end up costing as much or more than actually buying the book.
Some Final Book Buying/Renting Tips:
1) Expect to spend a ton of money. No matter how cheap, thrifty or savvy you think you are, you will get owned. Accept it now, avoid tears later.
2) Buy your books enough in advance so you actually have them before classes begin. Websites will usually give you an estimated delivery date (I almost bought a book that had an estimated delivery date of September 8th and my classes start next week. No wonder it cost only $15.).
3) Never fill up your shopping cart with books and walk away from the computer to watch Jersey Shore and come back and expect all your stuff to still be there because, odds are, sexyangelbunny85 snatched them up while you were busy watching Ronnie trying to dance. If you see a book you need at an awesome price, BUY IT NOW!
When budgeting for books, I suggest going by whatever your school tells you. My school estimated about $1,000 and they were pretty much right on the money.
If you have any suggestions of how to get a good deal on books or have any experiences you would like to share about renting books and 1L books in general, please comment!