Tips for lowering book-buying stresses at new semester

By Abigail-Lauren Meredith, News Editor –

One week into the new semester, many students have either already experienced the

hassle of buying or renting textbooks or are waiting for their textbooks to arrive from another

source such as Amazon.com or Chegg.com

Buying books is stressful and sometimes troublesome for students.

Michael Milton, manager of the Barnes and Noble Bookstore on MCC’s campus, has a

few tips to make the process less stressful.

“Books can be bought or rented online and then shipped to their house or picked up in-

store,” he said. “This is the fastest way to purchase books because there is little to no wait time.

A common question is whether to buy new or used textbooks, or rent.

Milton said the answer is really based on student preference.

“If you buy new, you have the option of selling them back to the store at the end of the

semester,” he said. This is often the best option for students whose financial aid covers the cost

of their books.

Buying used books when available or renting books can save up to 50 percent of the cost

of new.

“The difference is that the money is saved upfront instead of getting money back at the

end of the semester,” Milton said. “Digital books cost anywhere from 40 to 60 percent less than a

new book, but the lifetime of the book depends on the lifetime of the device being used.”

The best time to buy books is as soon as possible, usually the two weeks before the start

of classes.

“Some students like to wait for classes to begin before they purchase books,” he said,

“but this can be problematic because the bookstore cannot ensure that the book will be in stock

and financial aid deadlines are strict about when books can be purchased.”

Students considering buying books from other sources should be wary of the problems

that could occur. For example, some online books with digital access codes might have different

codes than the one a professor uses.

Another issue is timeliness. Some students order books from other sites and waits of

several weeks are not uncommon. One way to avoid that problem is to order them online several

weeks prior to the start of the semester or utilize quick-shipping options.

“Buying locally from the MCC bookstore is often a better option,” Milton said, “because

the bookstore offers free returns of books for whatever reason during the first week of school and

a large portion of the money earned goes back to the MCC.”

Some students erroneously think that not highlighting or writing in their textbooks will

result in a higher buyback price.

Buyback prices are based on several factors, including whether the book is being used the

next semester, how many the bookstore already has for the next semester, and the condition of

the book.

“Highlighting and writing in textbooks is completely acceptable,” he said, “although not

if the highlighting and writing are excessive.”

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