Weeping Wallet Syndrome: A Textbook Affair

by on Sep 18th, 2018

You’ve been prepping for weeping wallet syndrome since you saw your acceptance letter (congratulations by the way) but then you saw that Biology 107 textbook and DAMN! The realization sets in that if you have to buy five (or more) of these you’re looking at spending around $1,000 on books and what student has that kind of capital kicking around?! It’s time to take action against textbook prices! Here is a list of some of the best ways to save a buck on textbooks. 

Buy an Older Edition

One of the best ways to save money on textbooks is to find an older edition. You may find some of your professors encourage you to do this to save some money so don’t hesitate to start looking. One thing to consider is that the changes to textbooks can be as minor as a couple of paragraphs to a complete alteration of an anthology, so it’s important to check with your professor to confirm whether you need the most recent edition or not.

SAMU Marketplace:

You may have seen posters and banners advertising this around campus. Basically, it’s SAMU’s version of Kijiji. The site organizes books and tutors by faculty so it makes it easy to find anything you need for your semester. When we say “anything” we mean books and tutors, you won’t find any cats for sale or “looking for friends” posts on here.

If you’re looking to make a little extra money on the side, you can use Marketplace to advertise your amazing brain too! Whether you’re a Bio 30 prodigy or just statistically inclined, if you were good at it in school you can offer up your services as a tutor through the SAMU Marketplace.

Other Online Marketplaces:

This one may seem obvious but it’s a good place to start your search. Whether it’s Kijiji, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist or other options for local classifieds, you’re bound to find at least some of your books a short drive away and likely discounted. Take these tips when purchasing anything online from a private seller:

  1. Decide on the price before meeting up.
  2. Go with a friend.
  3. Meet in a public place.
  4. Tell people where you’re going.
  5. Only bring as much money as you need.

Facebook Groups:

There is a handful of student moderated, faculty-specific Facebook Groups. Here you will often see textbook deals you won’t find anywhere else. MacEwan’s Used Book Exchange is the general group for textbooks, but seriously, just search for “MacEwan” Facebook groups and you’ll find all kinds of places to get textbooks. These groups may not have all of the books you need but every little bit of savings helps.

Meeting Classmates:

You’ll find out that fourth years sometimes leave first-year classes till the end. It’s a way to spread out the bombardment of first-year assignments and exams. So make friends, who knows, someone might have that textbook you need for next semester.

Rent eBooks

Multiple sites offer online licenses to textbooks for a significant discount. VitalSource and TextbookRental.ca are sites that offer rental periods for their textbooks which end up being much cheaper than buying them. These sites send you PDF versions of textbooks that can be read on any device so you can catch up on your reading while you wait for the train. Plus, it’s all digital so you can feel good knowing you saved a tree.

Amazon and eBay

Amazon and eBay are great for used textbooks. You can find many for as low as $0.99. You won’t be able to find them all but it could save you a couple hundred dollars (and as a bonus you might get some notes out of it). Using any online platform can save you tons of money, but Amazon specifically has a plethora of textbooks and discount offers for students like half-off Amazon Prime subscriptions. EBay is also a great place to look for books – they may not have the same selection as Amazon, but they aren’t a bookstore. You can often find surprising deals, so it’s good to keep an eye on both on before you make your purchase decision.

MacEwan Bookstore Site:

MacEwan’s bookstore has most of the textbooks you are ever going to need. On the occasion that they don’t, they will order it in. Most textbooks from the bookstore are new, but the beginning of every year there is a slew of used textbooks that are discounted. Books usually sell out quickly so be sure to pay attention to the website. As a bonus, the bookstore has a handy book list generator to make your prepping for the new year that much easier.