Textbooks cost students hundreds

Between tuition, room and board and transportation, textbooks are just one of the many expenses to be paid in college.

The estimated annual average cost for books and supplies at a four-year public college is about $1,200, according to College Board.

ÒI probably spend about $400 a semester buying books,Ó junior Sarah Mickel said. ÒI usually look at places online like amazon to find them cheaper.Ó

At the beginning of each semester students have the option to either buy or rent textbooks.

When deciding to buy or rent, students must consider a range of pros and cons for each that vary from person to person.

One reason Mickel chooses to buy her textbooks is because she re-uses them in upper-level classes that rely on information in old texts, she said.

ÒIÕm in inorganic chemistry right now and IÕll still reference some of my old chemistry books to refresh myself on some of the things I may have forgotten since freshman year that are still applicable,Ó she said.

ÒI usually sell them back at the end of the semester if I donÕt think IÕll need them in the future when IÕm studying for the MCAT or another grad program,Ó she said.

The UVM bookstore claims to be the most convenient way to obtain textbooks for the courses offered at UVM, according to its website.

The store presents the option to either buy or rent books.

ÒMany students come in and ask to rent books,Ó first-year Cliff Bauman, an employee in the UVM bookstore, said.

ÒThe usual case scenario is that I tell them, ÔItÕs not going to make a huge difference,Õ because theyÕre buying such cheap books. The renting and the sale price barely differ from each other,Ó he said.

The price difference between buying and renting at the bookstore depends on the book, Bauman said

With expensive books, there can be a difference of up to $80 or more between rented and new text books, according to Bauman.

Though renting textbooks may be cheaper at the UVM bookstore than buying them there, sophomore Geneva Morley found that renting textbooks online may be cheaper than renting them in the bookstore.

ÒAll of my big textbooks that are normally worth $130 to $200, I got for $20 to $30,Ó she said.

She started renting books this semester and noticed that she saved a lot of money compared to previous semesters when she was unaware of the possibility of online renting, Morley said.

The websites she used included Chegg.com and Amazon.com, the same websites Mickel used in her textbook search.