Alternative textbook buying options keep costs low

Jessica Stanze

Staff writer

With the fall semester of 2015 already starting for many students, the concern over how to purchase textbooks is at the forefront of Parkland-goers’ minds.

The required texts are essential to class; however, coming up with the funds to purchase the books can seem overwhelming.  Luckily there are several resources both at Parkland College and the greater Champaign Urbana area that help students keep the cost of textbooks reasonable.

The Parkland College Bookstore, for example, offers the option of renting many of its titles. Jennifer Eisenhauer, the assistant manager of the bookstore, explained the relatively easy procedure in which a student can rent a textbook.

While selecting books for your classes, keep an eye out for the red “rent me” sticker attached to the available titles, along with the rental price. The clerk will need your Parkland student and state ID card along with a credit card that does not expire before the end of the term.

A contract will print during check out that will show your return date. Just be sure that you do return your books on that date or the remainder of the book cost will be applied to the credit card given at the start of the semester.

The Parkland College Library also offers a unique service to students wanting to better manage their school budget.  Pamela Williams works with the library’s reserve collection to ensure as many required textbooks as possible are available to Parkland students at no charge.

Reserved copies of the books stay inside the library but students are allowed to look them over inside the library for up to two hours with a Parkland student ID.  Williams cross checks with both the Parkland bookstore and instructors to see which editions of the textbooks are currently being used so when the student gives their course name and number to the front desk, they can be sure they are receiving the right material.

Williams also said that the students are allowed to make photo copies of the chapters as needed, for 10 cents per copy, or scan the book using one of the stations located inside the library.

If your required text list includes classic literature or contemporary novels, consider checking in at the Jane Adams Book Shop located in downtown Champaign. The Jane Adams Book Shop specializes in rare, used, and out of print books; perfect for not only required reading but also adding a little zest to that research paper or honors project.  The prices of the used books are very reasonable too; an example being that a paperback copy of The Shinning (required reading for the summer Intro To Literature class) was found for only $6 compared to the Barnes and Noble listing price of $13.

Photo by Scott Wells | Prospectus News Jane Addams Book Shop owner Susan Elmore works inside her establishment on Aug. 15, 2015.  Elmore and her husband purchased the business in December, 2009.

Photo by Scott Wells | Prospectus News
Jane Addams Book Shop owner Susan Elmore works inside her establishment on Aug. 15, 2015. Elmore and her husband purchased the business in December, 2009.

There are also several on-line websites such as Amazon, Chegg, and Half who keep textbook costs low. However, be sure to check out which edition you are buying to make sure it’s not out of date along with the seller’s rating to ensure that your book is not completely unusable due to damage.

Books can be a challenging expense to a student but with just a little patience and research, you can bring the cost down significantly.