How to Find Textbooks
College students, both traditional and nontraditional, often ask how to find out which textbooks are needed for class. Basically, this depends on the college you are attending. In some colleges, textbooks are paid for with your tuition and are provided to you before classes start. Other colleges have a bookstore where your textbooks will be sold. College bookstore employees can help you locate your textbooks if you have the course number and name of the class, as well as the instructor's name. Different instructors may have a different textbook selected, even if they are teaching the same class. Some college bookstores require you to let them collect your books for you, while others will have notes along each shelf indicating which class the books are for. Another option is to wait until class starts and check for the textbook on the course syllabus.
Buying Textbooks on a Budget
If cash is tight, you have two choices. One, wait until class starts to be sure the instructor is actually going to use the selected textbook. Two, check the bookstore shelves or the online bookstore to find out which textbooks you need, write down the ISBN for the textbooks, and order them online. The ISBN will ensure that you have the correct edition of the textbook. Used books can save you from 1/3 to 1/2 the price. Be sure you review used books carefully, though, to make sure that their is not so much writing or highlighting in them that they are difficult to read.
Occasionally, a textbook will be marked as optional. Depending on the price and your overall budget, it is a good idea to get optional materials, since they will be at least referenced in the course. However, for optional textbooks, you might consider borrowing the book from the library. If your local or college library does not have the book in question, ask them to get it for you from interlibrary loan.
Sharing textbooks is not a good idea for hands-on technical type classes. These textbooks may come with software CDs that can only be installed once. It also makes it hard to study or do homework when the other person has the textbook.
Textbooks are an expensive part of college life, but at the same time are a necessity. Purchasing online can save you money. Reselling the textbook online is also an option and usually gets you more money than the college bookstore will give. Amazon.com, among others, will allow you to sell your used textbook in their marketplace. EBay.com is another option, but textbooks do not sell for as much on EBay.com as they do on Amazon.com.
Visit Student Again for more information needed by nontraditional students.