By Brent Zeiman
[media-credit name="Photo Courtesy of College Magazine" align="alignright" width="375"][/media-credit]Textbooks are a large part of taking classes in college. Unlike in high school, students have to buy their own textbooks instead of checking them out from a campus library. Owning the textbook for a class allows the student to go back and review the content any time and to make their own notes in the margins or highlight important points in the text.
Finding textbooks is easy, but they are expensive. Finding the best deal is a bit harder. The on-campus bookstore in the Tivoli building carries all the textbooks that classes at Metro State, the Community College of Denver and the University of Colorado at Denver require. The bookstore also sells slightly cheaper used versions for some textbooks and will buy back textbooks at the end of a semester.
The bookstore is convenient, but they might not have the best prices, even if one looks at the used copies. Other bookstores like Barnes & Noble are worth a look, but often, online retailers have the best prices.
The best way to cross-check prices for books is to copy down the ISBN of each book needed for the coming semester and search the Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites for it. This ensures the results are the same edition as the one a professor is using. The edition of a book is very important. A lot of information can change between editions of a book. Whole chapters may be missing or rearranged. The ISBN of a book is on the back cover, usually next to the barcode. If the ISBN isn’t readily available, the author’s name and the full title of the book, including edition or revision number, will narrow it down enough.
After the semester ends, the bookstore sets up a book buyback program. The bookstore will pay students to return books in good condition. It won’t pay as much as the original price of the books, but doing this will offset the cost of the next semester’s books substantially. When the end of the semester nears, pay attention to bulletin boards around campus, which will detail the locations of these “buyback” desks.