One of the worst "visible" expenses I had to deal with at college was books and supplies. If you're a freshman, you will be knocked directly on your butt at the cost of a semester's worth of "educational materials." If you're an art student, you'll have to sell body parts to get your supplies! :)
The best way to arm yourself against losing money and getting gouged is to know how the "book racket" works.
So, why the discrepancy?
If the publisher comes out with a new edition of the book, your edition becomes worthless. So those $200 chemistry or math books will now be obsolete because the publisher added an extra sentence.
If a professor isn't going to use the book for the next semester, it becomes worthless. Some book buyback people will throw you a dollar or two to take your book (and then they'll turn around and sell it elsewhere for three times as much - or more).
So, what do you do to save cash?
And a note to art students - you will be completely gouged by the student bookstore art supply area. Shop elsewhere. Online, at the dollar store (you'd be surprised what you can find) - be creative. You don't need the $100 paint brush. Buy "hues" in oil paint rather than the actual colors. Learn how to stretch your own canvases. Become a scavenger and use unique materials to create art.
By GalFriday08 from Oakland County, MI
Absolutely correct! Got a $100 plus useful nursing book for $30 on Amazon. Excellent article here. Keep it to use in the future!
These are some excellent tips for buying books, but as an senior art student, I have to disagree with the advice about art supplies. The bookstore at our University has very competitive prices, and good quality supplies. If you are taking a university/college class, you do not want to have dollar store supplies. There IS a difference. Our bookstore has a big sale on the first week of each term. The local artists supply shops (and I DON'T mean Michael's) have sales at the beginning of the term as well, and give student discounts. Shop around.
Also, I found that my art profs were very aware of the high cost of art supplies and did not ask for a lot of expensive things that were not used. Now, I do agree, you don't need the $100 paint brush, and you can certainly save by stretching your own canvases. Those are good tips. But do buy student grade materials from reputable art suppliers. And, if you are a beginning artist, talk to someone with experience about what you actually need. If you don't know anything about materials, you don't want to buy online. There are some great prices, I agree, but only if you know what materials you like and which are good quality.
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