Home CommentaryStudent Life Does your wallet need a rest? Save on textbooks by getting them digitally

Does your wallet need a rest? Save on textbooks by getting them digitally

by Jocelyn Beaudet October 7, 2014
Does your wallet need a rest? Save on textbooks by getting them digitally

Whether this is your first semester in university or you’ve been around for a while, one thing is universally agreed upon by students: textbooks are expensive. Depending on your department, books can run up to a nasty $200 from the bookstore, and the meager $20 or $30 you’d save on getting them second-hand is negligible at best.

The worst part? Textbooks are a necessity for most courses, at least if you’re looking to pass. Sure, there’s the odd one that you can skip on, and you can scrimp in other ways. But in reality, our lives would be considerably better if we could cut those textbook expenses down to a minimum. Is that just wishful thinking? Not really!

Initially, even a quick search on Google or Amazon for your textbook by name or ISBN will yield a few results that are, generally, at least 20 per cent lower than you’d find in the shops. You can get your hard copy, and save pretty considerably. If you own a tablet or an e-reader though, you’re in luck. In many cases, digital versions of the books are available for purchase (not just for rent, like the bookstore may suggest). These digital copies can be up to 80 per cent cheaper than the hard copy, just as reliable and through a few free applications, even printable.

Don’t feel like using google-fu to get around? GetTextBooks.ca will be happy to aggregate a pricelist for you on some of the more notable sources for textbooks.

Still a bit short on cash? No worries! Many textbooks that are used are also available to peruse freely online, and this is especially true for law students. Sites like Openculture.com offer a plethora of resources for getting textbooks that have become public access, as well as audiobooks and public domain movies and audio.

Lastly, a few textbooks are available via Google Books as well, and although the selection is currently somewhat limited, it is expanding.

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