By Jacquelyn Zeman – News Editor
While most fees at Grand Rapids Community College are hard to avoid, there is one big expense that every student can save some money on: textbooks. Whether it’s purchasing books from a resale shop, or renting, there are numerous ways to save money.
The most convenient option for textbooks is obviously going to the school’s bookstore. Located on the first floor of the Student Community Center on campus, students can purchase their books with little hassle.
“We do of course sell the books new, but we try to get as many used copies of the books as we can,” said GRCC’s bookstore manager Scott Peters. “With used you can save a considerable amount of money. We also have a rental program, which is great way to save money…we also do digital. The only problem there is you can’t sell it for buyback.”
The GRCC Bookstore’s online shopping option can be found at: www.bit.ly/1pDw7mM.
Brian’s Books: Located at 120 Fulton St in downtown Grand Rapids, a quick walk from GRCC, is Brian’s Books. This shop sells all of the books GRCC’s bookstore carries – but for a discounted price. Brian Page, the owner of Brian’s Books said he works hard to make sure the shop beats bookstore prices. “We will save a student 10% across the board on any textbook,” Page said. “Usually it is more than that, but we guarantee that it will cost less than the bookstore at GRCC.” Their prices, and online orders can be taken from www.briansbooks.net/bbook2/default.asp.
Amazon offers students many money-saving options on new and used books.A student with an email provided from the college can get Amazon Student for $50 a year, with the first six months free. Amazon Student is very similar to Amazon Prime, as it allows students to receive books shipped free of charge in two days. Purchasing used books from Amazon can be a better deal than new books, however used books cannot be shipped in two days.
Rental Websites – Chegg is a great website to rent books for significantly reduced prices.Renting a textbook from Chegg typically costs one-fifth the price of a new textbook from the retailer. Students don’t get money back when renting books to Chegg, but it is definitely a way to avoid buying new textbooks. To rent a textbook, request a book at Chegg.com and it will arrive in the mail. At the end of the semester, the book can be sent back.
Blackboard Chat Boards – On Blackboard, an online portal on GRCC’s website accessible with a GRCC email and password, great deals can be found for textbooks. Under the community tab, is a book exchange, where students can post books titles they want to buy and sell on the chat board. Ads can be posted to receive and sell textbooks. A nice aspect of the Blackboard book exchange is that it is easy to bargain with other students for a good price on a book, but it can be hard to find the exact book and edition needed.
Book Exchange Facebook Group – The “Grand Rapids Community College Book Exchange” page on Facebook is the same as Blackboard’s chat boards, with books being sold and bought. As with Blackboard, the best benefit to the Facebook group is the ability to bargain down the price.
Bulletin Boards – Outside of the Student Community Center, and on the ground level of the Main Building, there are bulletin boards with selling and wanted ads for textbooks. If all else fails with the virtual boards, this is a great way to advertise.
Craigslist – Much like Facebook and Blackboard, Craigslist is a great way to connect with other GRCC students to exchange textbooks. Craigslist is free, and works best if “GRCC” or “Grand Rapids Community College” is mentioned in the title of the post. While Craigslist is a great place for finding deals, there are also many ways to find yourself in a scam. Be sure to meet in a public place when purchasing from a seller on Craigslist, and make sure it is the correct book you have agreed to purchase.
Regardless of where textbooks are purchased, if a student is choosing to purchase a textbook instead of rent, the book can always be sold from one student to another, or bought for buy back at the original location of purchase.
If you are really looking for a good deal on a textbook, don’t take first opportunity that comes to you. The deals vary, and if you are going through a private seller, don’t be afraid to bargain. Prices will be different depending on the situation, so shop around in order to find the best possible deal on your textbooks.
COM135 – $151.00
MA107 – $158.75
CLS100 – $75.75
EN101 – $81.75
COM135 – $104.95
MA107 – $108.95
CLS100 – $78.45
EN101 – $75.45
COM135 – $140.60
MA107 – $169.32
CLS100 – book cannot be purchased on Amazon
EN101 – $103.54
Total: (not including CLS 100) $413.46
How much did other students spend?
“I got a planner for $7, and a Curious Writer Package for $75.45. I did not buy any of them used because I am dual enrolled, so on Amazon I bought my stuff for Ferris on there. Some of my books were only like $8 there. I think I got a better deal with Amazon. I bought a paperback book that I believe was used.”
Cameron Berg, 18 Coopersville Michigan
Kelly Ortiz, 18 Holland
“I bought my English book, math book, it was $400. It was my whole week’s check. I just got my books here because I came down to GRCC today for the Raider Rally. I have one more book I need to get, but I am getting it free from a friend.”
Dominic Baiz, 18, Grandville