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The ARC’s Savvy Shopper’s Guide to Book Buying

Some parents have been asking about how/when/where to buy books for Fall. Luckily, the ARC has the scoop on books and planning early might help save some money!

First of all, you should know that the cost of books will not be the same each semester, and it changes depending on courses and majors. Math and science books tend to be the most expensive, and used editions may be more difficult to locate. English classes may require several books, but used or library copies may suffice. Either way, students will need the exact edition the instructor requests.

My.Bellarmine (via the Bookstore) posts the required book list for each student. Students should log on to my.Bellarmine.edu, click on the “student” tab, go to “my courses,” and click on the name of each course to see book information. The details include title, edition, and ISBN for the exact book needed for the course.

Once your student is ready, there are a few options. We’ll start with the easiest.

  1. Once registration is complete, students may “preorder” their books through the Bookstore via my.Bellarmine.edu. Students can choose to have the books shipped to their home address or pick them up at the Bookstore in Horrigan (Room 219-A). This is the easiest and most convenient option because students are guaranteed to get the right books and everything comes from one place.
  2. Students may also rent books from the Bookstore through my.Bellarmine. If your student is considering renting, he or she may want to make sure that the book will not be needed for more than a semester. In that case, purchasing the book will most likely be cheaper than renting for a year.
  3. Recently, buying used books online (through sites like amazon.com, cheapbooks.com, or half.com) has become more popular. While this option can potentially save some money, it is important to remember a few key details. First, always make sure to order the exact edition requested by the instructor—search for the book using the ISBN provided by the Bookstore on my.Bellarmine. Second, order books early to make sure they arrive well in advance of the first day of class and in time to order a correct edition if a mistake happens.
  4. Another way students purchase books is through upperclassmen. Freshmen locate upperclassmen on facebook and negotiate details before arriving on campus. This option may save money and help out a fellow student, but it is the student’s responsibility to double check that the book is the correct edition and the source is reliable.

Talk to your student about these options. Financial aid packages usually don’t cover books, so now is a good time to budget and order books early. Encourage your student to save his or her money this summer so buying books doesn’t come as a shock—budgeting $400-$500 is probably a safe bet. This money should be readily accessible when the student is on campus depending on which method(s) he or she plans to use.

The ARC hopes that this guide helps makes first time book buying go smoothly for students and parents. What tips and advice can the experienced parents share with freshman parents regarding buying books? What has worked for you in the past?


About Cassie

I'm the Director of the Writing Center and Director of Parent Communications at Bellarmine University.

One comment on “The ARC’s Savvy Shopper’s Guide to Book Buying

  1. […] my books for my classes by the time Knight LIFE starts? Nope. If you’ve already gotten a head start on ordering or buying your books, you’re in good shape. But you’ll also have time during Knight LIFE to visit our […]

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