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Back to school textbook guide

We all are familiar with the struggle of purchasing expensive textbooks for your classes that you’ll only use for a semester or so. Buying these textbooks can be a severe drain on your already empty wallet. Here are some tips to go about buying your textbook for your classes at Stony Brook University. Make sure to use all your resources before actually going out and buying a textbook at full price.

1. Check to see if it’s in a Textbook Archive

If you’re in a high-demand or popular class like MAT 125 or CHE 131, chances are you can probably find your textbook online in an archive. The one most students at Stony Brook use is this one. Bookmark this archive, and everytime you need a textbook make sure to search in this archive because a PDF of your textbook might be uploaded there. This way, your textbook can be free.

2. Stony Brook’s Official Facebook Groups

If your textbook is not on an archive, post on one (or all) of the 4 Stony Brook Official Facebook groups (2021, 2020, 2019, 2018) asking if anyone has the textbook and is willing to sell. Does it really matter if your textbook is brand new or not? Chances are that many students have taken the class before you and already have a copy of the textbook you are looking for. Take a minute to post on these groups asking for your specific textbook and someone will hopefully reply and you can go on to negotiate the price. You can get a pretty good deal on a textbook out of this.

3. Browse Amazon

If option #2 does not work, go on Amazon and browse the other buying options for your textbook. Most likely there are other buying offers for your textbook. If the condition of the textbook in these offers are “Used” or “Good” you can get it for a significantly lower price and still get it on Prime, meaning it will arrive in two days.

4. If Amazon gives you an option to rent, rent!

Renting a textbook is a lot cheaper and more affordable option for those who have no other options left but to buy their textbook. When you rent a textbook on Amazon, you get the textbook at a cheaper price and then return it back to Amazon in the same condition at the end of the semester. This offer is not available for every textbook, but if it is, take advantage of it.

5. If you have no other choice, buy the textbook at full price and try to sell it at the end of the semester

If there are no other work arounds and you are left with no choice, the only thing you can do is to buy your textbook. The good news is that you can try to sell it by posting on one or all of the Facebook groups mentioned above in the hopes that you can negotiate a reasonable price and sell it. If you can refrain from writing in your textbook or doesn’t need to, try to keep it in good condition so you can get the most bang for your buck.

And there you go, five tips for buying textbooks at Stony Brook University. Because we could all spend a little less money buying expensive textbooks. Whether you’re textbook costs upward of $100, or you’re just too broke to spend money on textbooks, these tips will help you save a lot of money. And, remember to always make use of your resources and be aware of resources on campus to help you save money.


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Mehar Bharatiya

Hi, I'm Mehar and I'm an Anthropology Major and Geology Minor at Stony Brook University! I like reading, writing, art, and cats. In my free time I like pondering philosophical quandaries, watching meme compilations, and engaging in political discourse!


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