This is the process I go through for each of my text books. It is labor intensive, but it’s worthwhile because it allows me to find least expensive option for each book.
This semester I’m taking a media ethics class (among others). I’m using the textbook to show how I find the cheapest option.
Here is my process:
If you know anyone who might still have the textbook, check with them first – they would probably be happy to help you out! I haven’t been able to find anyone who has this one. So here it goes:
First I check out my options on Amazon:
- $63.03 new, eligible for free shipping
- $43.25 used, plus $3.99 shipping ($47.24)
- $22.72 hard copy rental, plus shipping
- $43.79 Kindle edition
- $25.52 Kindle rental
Then I check BookRenter:
- $54.43 rental, free shipping
Then Garfield Bookstore (Lots of universities have their own bookstore, this is PLU’s):
- $64.95 new, plus shipping unless you buy it in person
Renting vs. Buying
Renting typically has the lowest up-front cost.
Buying an eBook has the next lowest up-front cost. Pro: it allows you to search for keywords on your laptop or Kindle, which helps you skim readings and find answers to questions. Con: it has no resale value. Note: you can read kindle eBooks on your laptop even if you don’t have a kindle.
Buying a hard copy gives you the option to re-sell (you can usually get back about half your money).
My general rule: I get the rental or eBook if it is half the price of the hard copy.
In this Case
It’s cheapest to rent a hard copy from Amazon ($22.72)
If I buy the used copy from Amazon ($47.24) I will be able to get around $20 back when I re-sell it (figure in Amazon’s fees). That leaves me with total out of pocket cost of $27.24. In this case it’s better to rent!
Unfortunately, after all that, I still had to spend around $200 on textbooks for spring – Yikes!