Get Creative When Shopping for Textbooks


Maggie Potolache
Health & LIfestyles Editor

I remember preparing for my first year at UCSB and all the stressful last-minute planning. I spent hours the night before “Move-In Day” packing all my clothes and dorm material. My new laptop had already been purchased and all the pictures of friends and family were in my suitcase. The last thing that I thought of buying were my books. It wasn’t until classes had started that I even realized that I hadn’t purchased a single book for any one of my classes. I went directly to the UCen bookstore without looking into any of my other options, which resulted in me paying around 600 dollars for my textbooks. Now, as a much wiserjunior, I realize that I could have saved myself a lot of money and now wish to pass on my textbook-buying knowledge to you. Here are some alternative options to the UCen bookstore that are guaranteed to provide you with some extra spending money for the rest of the quarter.

IV Bookstore: Conveniently located on Pardall Road in Isla Vista and only a short walk or bike ride from campus. IV Bookstore offers a large variety of used books as well as some new textbooks, all of which are less expensive than their counterparts at the UCen. Notebooks, school supplies, and some UCSB merchandise are also sold at the bookstore. The trek to IV is definitely worth the money you’ll save. It’s also another place to try to sell back your books. If the UCen doesn’t take your book, try the IV Bookstore. A college-classified online marketplace specifically for students to promote, trade, sell, and buy from fellow classmates. You can search for almost anything, from textbooks and apartments to jobs, roommates, sublets and carpools. It’s very similar to Craigslist, but as mentioned, it’s specifically designed with college students in mind. Just click on your school on the homepage and you’re on your way. Fortunately, we don’t have to search too hard: UCSB is on the “Top Schools” list. You can expect it to be there, since Uloop was started here at UCSB in 2007. Now the site lists over 50 campuses nationwide. and Two great options if you aren’t in any rush to have your books, since the shipping can take up to a couple weeks. You can find used and new textbooks and paperbacks for half the money you’d spend at the UCen. There is also rush shipping available for an extra fee.
Chegg: Why buy textbooks when you can rent them? offers students the ability to rent expensive textbooks and simply return them once the quarter is done. This alternative is an inexpensive option that usually results in students saving hundreds of dollars off of the potential cost of their textbooks.
Craigslist: You may have purchased a couch or a lamp from Craigslist in the past, but did you know that you could also buy your textbooks from the website as well? You can get a pretty great deal if you start your textbook search before the next quarter begins, when most students will be trying to get rid of their old textbooks.
Facebook: You can use your facebook for way more than just social networking. Use it to find the textbooks you need for an upcoming class by posting a list of books you need on your status or messaging other students who may have taken the class before. The earlier you start your search, the more easily you will be able to find your books for a cheaper price.
Buying older editions: Although a textbook may be considered “outdated” by a publishing company, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it is no longer a useable resource to study. Most professors won’t mind if you use an older edition, as long as the material is more or less the same. Is spending $180 for the “new” edition really worth it if the only  changes made from the last edition was the chapter order or a new preface? Probably not.
E-books: Some professors present e-books as a supplemental option for their course in replacement of the heavier and bulkier textbooks. If that’s the case, take advantage of the offer and download your textbook from the provided e-book website instead. Not only are e-books light on your back, they’re also light on your wallet. E-books are usually 30-60% cheaper than the textbook edition and are easily accessible at any time from your computer.
Davidson Library: Obviously the cheapest option. However, it may be difficult to secure a specific book since other students may have already checked it out. If you already know what classes you’re going to take and the books you’ll need, there’s a greater chance of finding the book if you go early before the class begins. There are also due dates for books checked out, which can be renewed online, in person, or by phone. Professors often put one or two copies of the required course texts on reserve. Just go to the front desk with the sign that reads “Reserves” above it and an employee will help you. Some students never buy the books- they just read the ones put on reserve at the library. You should only do this if you know your study habits and capabilities well. For some people, owning the book helps so that you can mark it up and highlight it, and you can’t do that with the course

Photo by: Raymond Douglas