Don't sweat over texts: tips for buying books

By Elaine Mendiola
Pulse Staff Reporter

Photo by Brain Lincoln Copyright 2005
Photo by Brian Lincoln Copyright 2005

Acquiring college textbooks can be less stressful and more convenient now that students have a variety of options to get their hands on their required reading.

Students now have the ability to rent their books from bookstores or from the Internet. The most popular site to rent books would have to be Many students can save 40 percent to 70 percent by renting their textbooks.

Students choose how long they will be renting as well as how many books they will rent. One flat rate is paid. The books are then shipped for free and returned at no cost.

One disadvantage is that students renting books must keep books in mint condition. Books must be returned on time or a late fee will be charged.

Renting might not be for everyone. Students may want to own their text but still want to pay less. Buying online was the solution for Ymelda Garay, a sophomore at Palo Alto majoring in Communication Disorders.

"I buy books online all the time," said Garay. "I love that the books are so cheap. Sometimes you might not get the text until the last day of class, but I take that chance anyway because who wants to spend a lot of money on books?"

Palo Alto's bookstore also has a variety of textbooks in stock. Though the books may be pricier than those online, students have the advantage of seeing what condition the book is in before purchasing it. You pay for the book, and receive it right then and there, if it is in stock.

The bookstore also offers textbook tax credit. Students must save the receipt and file a tax return to get their money back. However, textbooks at the bookstore can be pricey for someone on a budget.

Our library tries to help students by providing some, but not all, college textbooks online. These are called e-books. Camille Fiorillo, chair of Library and Information Studies, said, "E-books are the electronic version of the entire text from beginning to end," Fiorillo said.

Students may search the entire book by key words, pinpointing where that specific word is located throughout the text, all for free. Students may access e-books anywhere, at school or at home, by simply going to the Palo Alto website and clicking on the Library tab. "The information can be available at the tip of your fingers," said Fiorillo.

Some professors also help students by putting the textbooks they require students to read on reserve at the library. Students then can check out textbooks from the Circulation Desk and use the text for two hours at a time.

Maria Flores, a freshman majoring in Teaching, said, "I find that the two-hour reserve is very helpful and convenient for someone who has not received their text."

Each textbook option has its advantages as well as its disadvantages. Choose the option that's best for you.


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