Penny-saving practices

The book-buying process is an experience every college student is familiar with.

Some of these pocket-breaking, cover-bound articles of information can range in price from $20 to more than $200.

Regardless of the price, there are some books that simply can’t be avoided when it comes to passing a class.

With some students having deeper pockets than others, and even more having Ramen-labeled cuisines for breakfast, there has to be some push and pull when it comes to purchasing these expensive books.

An immediate place for students to purchase books is at the school’s bookstore. However, many students believe that it should be a last resort.

Tracey Humbert, a junior pharmacy student from Pompano Beach at Florida A&M, said the bookstore is the last place she turns to when it comes to acquiring books for class.           

“The bookstore is my last means, if it’s not available anywhere else or if I’m broke and in need of a book voucher,” Humbert said.

Humbert finds borrowing books from upperclassmen or even buying them off of students the best way to start because the transaction is immediate.

“You don’t get the delay of shipping, and it’s also much cheaper than the bookstore,” Humbert said.

Another more common and thrifty way to purchase books is online. Websites such as, Chegg, eBay, Craigslist and even Facebook have aided students in keeping their precious pennies.           

Degion Craddock, a senior business administration student at FAMU from Queens, N.Y., is familiar with online purchasing. He said he easily notices the difference in pricing after buying one book and renting two this semester.

“It was pretty inexpensive” Craddock said. “The book cost me about $15 on Chegg. I rented my other two books. Each of them was about $40 to rent through Chegg.”

Craddock also said choosing when to buy books online could be more beneficial.

“Sites like Chegg and Amazon are aware when it’s the beginning of the semester,” Craddock said. “If you purchase books in total of up to like over $70, then they normally give you a free delivery waiver. I don’t think I’ve paid any delivery fees for my books.”

Social media also has its advantages when buying books.

Facebook has a group on its site called “The Exchange.” Students can post information about the books they need or want to sell and can then schedule a meet-up for a purchase, sale or even a book trade.

This can benefit those wanting to buy or sell books at a low price because students also have the ability to haggle via the social site.

Knowing the ends and outs of discounted book purchasing, it can become second nature to avoid the account crippling prices at the school bookstore. As a business, why not lower the prices of books in order to keep customers from straying off into other methods?

Tyler Blount, a senior from Jacksonville who works at the campus bookstore, said he usually buys his books from the store using cash or a card. Despite the high prices, Blount understands the reasons and isn’t swayed.

“The bookstore is sponsored by Barnes and Noble,” Blount said. “They have to get paid somehow, and then FAMU has to get paid as well. That’s why the original price goes up.”

Blount said the reason FAMU doesn’t buy school edition books back after the seal is broken is because FAMU wouldn’t make any money.

Prices for books may inevitably be high for college students. However, having different options can help. As long as the focus falls on passing the class, getting an A through the help of an expensive textbook may ease the pain.