Textbooks and You: Finding Cheaper Ways to Further Your Academic Life


Cassandra Jaskiewicz, Entertainment Editor

The start of the semester means a lot of shopping to ensure academic success. Students need paper, folders and books, but there is no need to make an already expensive semester even worse. The number one thing on a students to-do list should be obtaining the required books for their courses, but at a more affordable price. All of the older students have already learned the tips and tricks on at meeting this task, but the new ones might be out of the loop.

Mikayla Sarro,a  second-year graduate student at The University of New Orleans and studying English with a concentration in British literature, has some ideas on approaching such an important task. When asked about her routine for buying books, Sarro said, “I used to buy books directly through the UNO bookstore, but because I am required upwards of five books or more per course, it can get pretty expensive. Now I usually go through Amazon, either purchasing an e-book or the text for much cheaper.”

There still many steps to take in securing cheap books and still getting the best experience. For a what-not-to-do when buying books, Sarro explained,“I don’t like to buy books that I know I probably wont ever look at again.So I rent big anthologies rather than paying the full price for them.” Another of Sarro’s suggestions: “I also have to purchase several small books, and for those I like to find online versions. It can be tricky, as the e-books don’t follow the same pages or line numbers as the actual text, but it’s better than having to carry four books to every class.”

However, if Sarro struggled to find her books for her courses, she concluded that, “UNO’s bookstore would be my last resort, since that’s where the instructors post the course texts. If the bookstore doesn’t have it then I’d ask my professor directly; many of my past instructors have been happy to let me borrow their books. I’m always extra careful with those.”

Sarro mentioned the more well-known options of finding cheaper textbooks through Amazon, or finding a free online version, but there are still more resources to be used.

Chegg is a website that lets its users type in the ISBN or title of the textbook that a student could be looking for, and it will show how much it costs to buy, how much the e-book version is to buy, and how much it is to rent it. It lets students compare these prices and find the most affordable option that is out there. It also has new and used copies of the textbooks for students to buy, as well as, an option for students to sell back what they bought at a later date.

Another option is going to local new or used bookstores, as many teachers to do not always require students to have the most recent version of the text. In the case of novels and short stories, a used copy is often available and for much cheaper. There is both the University library, the interconnected library system across Louisiana, and the New Orleans Public Library to consider. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask friends if they have a copy of the text from when they took it, or to see if they know someone who can loan a copy.