Books, Books, Books

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Time for Books!

Now that our sons and daughters have settled into their dorms and are getting ready to begin classes, the reality begins. The whole reason they are at college is to learn and take classes, meaning they will need to have the necessary tools to do so, including books. Textbooks can be very expensive, so it is important to make informed decisions when picking out books to buy or rent.

There are various ways to purchase books and many different forms to choose from. From going to the bookstore on campus or purchasing books second-hand online, there are several different cost-efficient ways to get all of your students’ required materials. Considering that textbooks can cost as much as a few hundred dollars each, it is smart to check out all of your purchasing options for each book.

HaveUHeard that UMD is a member of the Open Textbook Network (OTN), an alliance of higher education institutions working to improve access, affordability, and academic success using open textbooks. Hundreds of open textbooks are available through the network’s online library that can be downloaded for no cost or printed at a low cost. UMD’s Student Government Association, in partnership with the University Library, stocks textbooks used in top enrolled courses that students can borrow for four hours at a time on a first-come, first-served basis.  UMD also has other book and material programs as part of their participation in Open Educational Resources. You can read more about saving money on books in our blog Here’s One for the Books, College Textbook Info.

The first step in book buying is to look at the course syllabus or bookstore website to see which books if any, the professor requires for class. I recommend first looking over the actual syllabus you are given because different professors for the same course may use different books or require additional reading materials. Another tip is to wait to hear what the professor has to say regarding books. Many professors have codes that allow you to view the book for free or have a free PDF version to send out to students.

After you know what books and materials you are going to need for the semester, it is time to decide where you want to get the books and in what form. Some students like to have a physical copy of the textbook to mark up and take notes, while other students prefer having a digital copy that they can take with them wherever they go. If your student prefers a book, then I suggest renting it for the semester or buying a used book if that is an option. For the majority of courses, UMD’s bookstore gives students the option to buy new, buy used, rent new, or rent used. My daughter came to find that used books were always in great condition and are sold at a significantly lower price.

Where to Buy

  • UMD Bookstore-The UMD bookstore makes getting books super easy and allows you three different ways to get them. The first option they give students is to come into the bookstore and pick out the specific books they are looking for. They have a huge area on the basement floor that is dedicated solely to textbooks and class supplies. They organize the books by the department the class is in, and do so both alphabetically and numerically, making it extremely easy to grab the books you want.
  • If you want to make the book-buying process even easier, you can pre-order the textbooks you want and they will be packaged together ready for you in the textbook pick-up area at the bookstore. The last option the bookstore gives you is that they will ship the books to you. This is another good option if you do not have the chance to go to the bookstore before classes.
  • Facebook groups- There are many Facebook groups that are dedicated to textbook exchanges, and oftentimes students will post in their official class UMD Facebook group. Students normally sell their used books for less than what the bookstore is selling, so make sure your student looks to see if any of the books you need are being sold.
  • Amazon Prime – Students can use their UMD email to get six months of Amazon Prime for free (free shipping) and then for only $50 a year. And, yes, Amazon rents too.  All rental returns are shipped for free and you will receive a notification reminding you when your book is due.
  • Barnesandnoble.com – You can pick from 60, 90, or 130 days for your rental and you can extend it if needed. You will see the shipping cost after adding the book to your shopping bag and returning your rental is free.
  • Chegg is popular with students for renting or buying books with free 2-day shipping over $35. And they have 21-day risk free returns in case students drop or switch classes.
  • When it comes time to sell back any books that were purchased, consider the website Sellbackbooks.com. It is somewhat like how CarMax works- simply put in the ISBN number and they will give you a quote on what they are paying. The quote is valid for 7 days.

Now that your student has all of their information, let the studying begin!

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2020-08-20T13:36:42-04:000 Comments

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