Textbook costs can add up, but students have options

Karla Karcioglu, Roving Editor Ω

As the fall semester begins and students mind their pocket-books, they should keep in mind the various ways money can be saved on required reading for the year.

Textbook costs can really pile up. Karla Karcioglu/The Omega

Textbook costs can really pile up. Karla Karcioglu/The Omega

Glenn Read, TRU’s bookstore manager, said the bookstore does their very best to provide TRU students with affordable options by bringing in as many used textbooks as possible, offering a rental program, a digital textbook option and by providing a textbook buyback program.

“I do believe prices are high,” said Read, stating that prices are controlled by the publisher and the bookstore has a modest markup to cover costs.

“Sometimes the bookstore is quite reasonable,” said Larissa Pepper, a fourth year business student, adding “If you’re looking to save, do some research.”

Pepper recommends waiting until you have been in the class for a few days before deciding whether it’s necessary to purchase the textbook, especially the recommended books that you may not need.

She also advised to find friends in the class who would be willing to share their textbook, or even to offer to pay for half to share a book.

Other campus resources may prove useful, too. Pepper said that a lot of people don’t know that some textbooks are in the library, providing students an opportunity to sign out books and take notes.

Pepper also admits she really loves book exchanges. She often frequents the TRUSU online book exchange to find deals on books.

“With the cost of tuition and other fees already so high, whatever students can do to minimize their textbook costs is important,” said Dylan Robinson, TRU Student Union president.

Robinson called the price of textbooks “ridiculous” and added that it is getting worse with every passing year, and that textbooks are often out of date after just a year or two.

“[The exchange] exists simply to save our members money on textbooks,” Robinson said.

Digital textbooks might be the savings answer some are looking for. Karla Karcioglu/The Omega

Digital textbooks might be the savings answer some are looking for. Karla Karcioglu/The Omega

It might help to look off-campus for textbooks, as well.

Textbookrental.ca is a fast-growing Canadian company looking to help students save on the cost of textbooks. CEO Brandon Luft, a recent business graduate of York University, saw opportunity in a growing second-hand market.

The company has been operating for four years and has fulfilled over 30,000 orders according to Luft.

They have also partnered with 13 Canadian universities and Canadian book retailer Indigo.

The website provides students access to rent or buy over one million textbook titles at up to 75 per cent off.

The books are shipped directly to the customer through Canada Post. Students are free to highlight and write in the books and return shipping costs are provided by the company.

The company also offers a textbook buyback program.