Tips for Finding Low-Cost Student Nursing Textbooks and Study Guides

College textbooks are a multi-billion dollar business annually. With the birth of the Internet gaining access to buying, selling and trading textbooks has become infinitely easier, but also more competitive. Do you stay safe and buy from the campus bookstore, or do you hit up one of the “cheap” or “discount” textbook websites for a better deal?

Know What Books are Course Requirements

Before you buy anything you believe you’ll need for a nursing course wait for the nursing instructor to post his or her course syllabus. If it’s late—some faculty tarry with posting these resources—don’t hesitate to contact your instructor and ask for a heads-up on textbook needs.

Many nursing instructors will list the REQUIRED and OPTIONAL textbooks, guides, workbooks for each course. A common practice is also to list the author, title, edition, date of publication, and ISBN number so you can easily find the textbook through any number of online of offline sources.

Using Nursing Textbooks from the Library

Be careful with this strategy: Relying on a nursing text or resource from your campus library may seem like the most ingenious idea at the time, but other student nurses are also going to compete for the same, guaranteed. Also some hot, hot student sources are lent with strict limitations precisely to discourage students that would otherwise dominate library sources.

You might have a few nursing courses in which an instructor has reserved a certain number of library sources specifically for nursing students, but on the whole your chances of using the library to borrow all of your textbooks are close to nil.

Cost of Nursing Textbooks

Your cash outlay for a semester’s required nursing books will run you hundreds of dollars. By the end of a four-year BSN degree you could easily have tanked a few thousand dollars into books, a few of which you may prefer to see burned to selling, saving, or trading.

Is it possible to really save money on nursing school books without spending hours hunting for the right sources?

Campus Bookstores

Your campus bookstore no doubt would prefer you buy books directly from them and as inspiration for that most offer incentives like convenient buy-backs that put cash in your hand right when you need it.

Shop your bookstore ASAP and you can snag used copies of the textbooks for decent prices. You could do better online, but when you consider the time you save buying right on campus you might think it’s just as good. Act quickly—used books disappear quickly. When it comes to the bookstore “buy-back” event don’t expect to a cash gusher.

Buy From Students

Keep a keen eye open on the campus bulletin boards and kiosks for students selling used nursing textbooks. If your college or university uses an online classifieds or a campus newspaper, you can keep tabs on campus textbook sales that way, as well.

Buying Nursing School Textbooks Online

Many nursing school textbooks are cheaper via online bookstores and resellers, but keep the following tips in mind when using this strategy:

  • Know the estimated ship date
  • Shipping and handling charges
  • Is this a reliable source?
  • Compare prices across a few top discounted sellers
  • Some older edition textbooks may have the same information in them and they are much cheaper.
  • Some textbooks you may find in editions printed in another country—international editions (in English); quality of the paper and cover may be poorer, but information contained is the same and you’ll often pay exponentially less.
  • Can you buy a paper cover versus hard cover? Hard cover is always top dollar.
  • Is there an edition of your nursing school textbook on Kindle? Or via another e-book delivery system?

Selling and Trading Used Nursing School Textbooks

Recoup some cash when you sell or trade your used course textbooks.

  • Sell to other nursing students on your campus. It’s quick and easy for both parties.
  • Trade with fellow students for another book you’ll need.
  • Sell back ASAP to the campus bookstore. Keep in mind that some textbooks carry more value than do others.
  • Before you sell or trade make sure you won’t need the book again later in your program.

Plan in advance for the cost of your nursing textbooks and KNOW the required texts you’ll need—nail these and you’ll save.

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