Textbooks can be a the stressful and unexpected expense for many in college. The textbooks you’ll need for class are entirely dependent on the classes you take, so it’s hard to know ahead of time exactly how much it will cost. At Western Oregon University, we work hard to make college affordable and textbooks are no exception. Luckily, we have many ways to lessen the financial burden of textbooks; you just need to consider your options. Here are some tips. 

Buy vs. rent

The first thing you’ll want to consider is buying versus renting your textbooks. If you choose to rent, you’ll be able to save money and easily return your book after use. The downside of this option is that you don’t own the book, so you can’t recoup any of the cost by reselling. On the other hand, while buying a textbook is more expensive upfront, you can sell the book once you’re done. 

New vs. used

Another thing you’ll need to consider is new versus used textbooks. The most practical option, of course, is to purchase or rent a used textbook, as it will likely be a fraction of the price of a new book. However, if the book is something you anticipate using for years to come, it might be worth springing for the new book. 

Hardcopy vs. ebook

A lot of textbooks also come in different formats, like ebooks or hardcopies. Some of the benefits of purchasing an ebook include that they’re typically cheaper, easy to travel with (it’ll be on a device you carry with you anyway!), and they’re eco-friendly (save the trees!). 

Where to buy

Now that you’ve considered the formats of the textbook, you’ll need to find somewhere to purchase them! The easiest choice is to purchase them from the Wolfstore, WOU’s bookstore, located on the second floor of the Werner University Center (or, WUC, pronounced “wook” or you can say each letter – you’ll hear both on campus). Since it’s on campus, you can get your books right away, they’re easy to rent, and if you decide to purchase, you can sell the books back to the store at the end of the term. You’ll be able to find any book you need within the bookstore, as the books are purchased by WOU! 

Hamersly Library is another great resource for textbooks. Many professors will put a copy of the book on reserve, which means it will be available for use in the library for a set amount of time. You can schedule time each week to do your reading in the library. Some books will be available as ebooks, so it’s worth checking out if that is an option for you. Also, if a book isn’t at WOU, you can check Interlibrary Loan, which is a program that allows universities to share their resources with one another. You can search and order the book through the library’s website. There’s a time limit on these check-outs (shorter than the length of a term), but if it’s a book you won’t need the full 10 weeks of a term, this is definitely a route to look into.

Another great option is ASWOU’s Book Exchange, where you can buy and sell textbooks, directly to and from other WOU students. If you’re selling, your books can be in the ASWOU system for up to one year, and there is no facilitator’s fee, so it’s no hassle selling. If you’re looking to buy textbooks, the prices are set directly by the student, so you’re likely to get a great deal.

Likewise, you can visit online marketplaces, like Amazon and Chegg, to check out their prices. The two stores are great for ebook rentals and purchases, as they both have apps that make it easy to read wherever you are. Plus, Amazon has free two-day shipping for Prime members, which you can get for half the price with your valid student email! 

Overall, although textbooks can seem expensive initially, there are some easy ways to save. The most important step to take is to explore all the options available to you. You can thrive in your classes without breaking the bank, and that’s what WOU wants for you!