Arthur News School of Fish
Photo by Jessica Ruscello on Unsplash

The Frugal Student's Guide to Textbook Shopping

Written by
Alexia Kambanis
November 9, 2020
The Frugal Student's Guide to Textbook Shopping
Photo by Jessica Ruscello on Unsplash

Picture this (actually, you’ve probably experienced this yourself and you don’t even need to imagine it):

The textbooks you’ve ordered from the campus bookstore are weeks late, and you still have to wait in line outside to pick them up. When you finally get to the front of the line you have to spend hundreds of dollars—maybe on a single book. Or maybe you bought the wrong textbook and you’ve missed the narrow return window and they won’t take it back. But hey, at least at the end of the semester you can sell it back to the bookstore for a tiny fraction of what you originally paid. Unless it’s a textbook with an access code, and now that you’ve used it, the textbook is pretty much worthless to new students. You’ve spent hundreds of dollars on books you only use for four months, and now you can’t make any money back.

You might feel like you’re doomed to spend your OSAP money on overpriced textbooks at the campus bookstore. Don’t lose hope, there is another way! You have options that are cheaper, more ethical, and outside of the bookstore’s monopoly. Take it from me—I’m in my fourth year now, and I haven’t bought a textbook at the campus store since September 2018.

To start off, here’s a couple student etiquette notes on buying and selling used books: Don’t charge someone for a book or PDF that didn’t cost you anything to acquire, and don’t hoard books when you’re done with them. Sell them back to other students or used bookstores, donate them to charity shops, or share them with your friends who are taking the same courses as you.

There is no shortage of Trent students trying to get rid of books for classes they’ve finished. The easiest way to buy from your fellow students is to use the Trent Mobile app or Facebook group. Buying used books is more financially and environmentally sustainable than buying new.

If you can tolerate reading off of your computer or phone, eBooks are a great option. Most publishers offer eBook or PDF versions of their textbooks for purchase or rent, usually at a lower cost than a new, physical book. If you’ve bought a used book but still need an access code or subscription for homework, you can usually pay for it separately on the publisher’s website.

It’s a good idea to check the Trent and Peterborough library websites before buying anything - public libraries often offer access to textbooks and journal articles. It’s also worth checking Open Library by the Internet Archive. Ultimately, pretty much everything is available online if you know where to look, but I’m not going to tell you about that because that would be condoning piracy, which is illegal!

I implore you to resist the urge to buy everything you need from Amazon, a company notorious for union busting, underpaying their workers, and in recent news even preventing workers from wearing poppies for Remembrance Day. Besides, textbooks are not even notably cheaper there—plus you’ll have to pay for shipping and wait weeks or longer for the book to arrive. Try to avoid chain bookstores too. You will probably be able to find what you’re looking for at a local bookstore, where the staff will gladly help you! Some excellent downtown bookstores are: Mark Jokinen Books, Knotanew Book Store, By The Books, and Hunter Street Books. These are just my favourites, but they’re not your only options. The TCSA also has a consignment store in their office, offering a wide variety of secondhand textbooks (which, as a bonus, puts money back into the pockets of your fellow students, rather than chain stores’ or Jeff Bezos’).

Now that you’re equipped with the know-how to free yourself from the clutches of the campus bookstore’s textbook monopoly, go forth and save money!

Arthur News School of Fish
Arthur News School of Fish

Heading 1

Heading 2

Heading 3

Heading 4

Heading 5
Caption text

What’s a Rich Text element?

The rich text element allows you to create and format headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, images, and video all in one place instead of having to add and format them individually. Just double-click and easily create content.

Static and dynamic content editing

A rich text element can be used with static or dynamic content. For static content, just drop it into any page and begin editing. For dynamic content, add a rich text field to any collection and then connect a rich text element to that field in the settings panel. Voila!

How to customize formatting for each rich text

"Headings, paragraphs, blockquotes, figures, images, and figure captions can all be styled after a class is added to the rich text element using the "When inside of" nested selector system."
  • adfasdfa
  • asdfasdfasd
  • asfdasdf
  • asdfasdf