Check Class Policies
Avoid buying the wrong textbook and wasting money on optional material by taking some time to read your syllabus to find out which books are required. Check what versions are acceptable; this will allow you more options as to where you can purchase the required materials and flexibility with pricing.
Ask the professor
If you have any questions about the materials needed for a class, ask your professor or their teaching staff. Many times, students make mistakes in buying the wrong textbook when they could have asked and avoided buying a book they can no longer get a refund for.
Utilize the university libraries and other free resources
Once you know what books are needed, start checking libraries. Search up your title of the textbook on the UT libraries website.
Check the university libraries just in case there are copies of the textbooks that you need. Community libraries might also be a place where you can borrow books. Although borrowing from the library is free, many times they do not have the required books, however calling them and asking, taking only a few minutes of your time, could save you a pretty penny.
Purchasing your books
There are many varieties of textbook that you can purchase. Down below we offer some insight into which one is the best fit for you.
There are many places around or on campus that provide used books.
The COOP has used books that you can purchase, however there is a strict refund policy so keep that in mind.
Book stores such as half price books, Barnes and Noble, etc also have used books that you purchase. There is a better chance of finding your books in stores that are closer to campus, because they have a history of student customers, and therefore have more copies in stock.
ThriftBooks is an online second-hand book provider that has many textbooks available. However, they often have the second-most recent edition, so double check with your instructor to determine if you are required to have the specific edition listed in the course book list.
You can rent your books from the CO-OP as well as online sites such as BookHolders. When renting books, it is important that you return the books by the due date. Late fees may apply, and you’ll end up paying more than you expected if you fail to return them on time.
Purchasing your books new is the most expensive option available. It is important to understand that any supplementary materials attached to the new textbook in most cases could be sold separately. Thus, buying the book used and purchasing the additional material separately will end up being the most cost-effective option.
Besides visiting the bookstores on campus, you might also consider searching your textbook’s International Standard Book Number (ISBN) online. Students can often find their textbooks online, either new, used, or an eBook version at a much lower cost. (Paper back copies can often be the cheapest version) Be sure to include shipping and handling costs when evaluating this option. In some cases, there may even an online pdf version of the book, so take advantage if possible. Amazon, Chegg, eBay, and other online websites may also have the books that you are looking for. Make sure to check and compare prices from multiple places before making your decision. Extensions that compares prices such as wiki buy may also help you in this process.
Many students sell their textbooks using the Textbook Exchange on Facebook, particularly during the first week of each quarter. Students can buy, sell and trade textbooks with other students. Students typically sell textbooks at a discount of the original price.
No Cost Options
Some textbooks are available in PDFs online; if you search the name of the textbook, edition needed, author, and “PDF,” you may be able to find a free version. Before downloading make sure that the website is credible and does not have any malicious content. For literature classes, Project Gutenberg has many classic texts available for free that you can read or download. Many of the readings in its archive are the texts of public domain books available for free.