by Alicia Landrum
Every semester, as soon as students think they’ve covered all the expenses and worked out manageable payment schedules for the cost of attending Mercer for another season, a sneaky and often forgotten cost makes itself known: the hundreds of dollars worth of books.
Mercer has a Barnes and Noble bookstore that is usually well-equipped with all the books that students might need. (Be warned, though, it is important to drop by the bookstore early in the semester. They are quick to send books back.)
The problem with the Mercer bookstore is that they have completely cornered the campus market on textbooks, and they have the pricetags to prove it.
The Mercer bookstore often offers both new and used textbooks. Purchasing used textbooks certainly helps to cut down on spending, but it is difficult to actually find used books. There are only so many used books available, and cheap books are to students as castaways are to emaciated sharks.
In order to save some much needed dough, the Mercer bookstore has started offering students the opportunity to rent textbooks instead of buying them, which cuts the cost amost in half.
Senior computer engineer Ben Haygood said, “I think it’s really helpful to just ask around and see if I know anyone with the books I need. If they don’t loan it to me for free, they’re usually willing to part with it for super cheap.”
Haygood has saved plenty of money over his college career using this method. He said, “I didn’t even buy a single book last year. I just borrowed them or found out I didn’t even need them.”
Without Haygood’s luck, it is necessary to find still more alternatives to the pricey bookstore.
First, check out the web.
Half.com is a student-favorite for saving serious textbook money. As the domain name suggests, the site offers books for half the price of those that are found on the shelves of bookstores.
Chegg.com has cheap textbooks and a rental option. Also, they currently are running a free-shipping special.
Biblio.com offers affordable rare books and constantly send coupons to everyone on their mailing list.