Study: Textbooks: Find a perfect fit

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 Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

By Ana Victoria Cano

sac-ranger@alamo.edu

It’s a new semester with new classes and students need textbooks. Should they rent or buy? Also, is a digital copy a better option than owning a text?

Renting or buying books is often a debate in students’ minds. Both have merits. “I prefer to buy my books because I compare the prices. The difference is not a lot and I can own my book for future references,” English sophomore Diana Mundujano said.

Melvin Johnson, bookstore manager at this college, said one of the pros of buying books is students can keep them after the semester is over. Also, students who don’t want to keep them can sell them back and depending on the title and the condition, students can recover up to 50 percent of their value.

Johnson said buying books can be more expensive, and sometimes a student cannot resell them.

Johnson said students can save money with a rental, and students don’t have to worry about selling the book at the end of the semester. For students who don’t like to keep books or students whose budget is tight, renting is their best option. On average students are more likely to rent than buy their books.

He said sometimes students need to refer back to their books but when they rent, they can’t do so once the semester is over.

He said a lot of professors are switching to e-books because they are cheaper. Students who have a laptop, tablet or even a smart phone can access them anywhere.

Johnson recommends students do research about e-books before buying them. A good choice is to try an e-book to see if the student likes the product and feels comfortable using it.

Johnson said e-books have printed books’ features; students can highlight and make notes.

He said they provide speakable text options, interactive quizzes and flash cards. They also help the environment.

However, not all students have a computer, a tablet or a smart phone.

He said digital is not for everybody; a lot of people are not used to e-books and prefer print.

He offered a simple formula for undecided students.

“If it’s your major, buy the book so you can refer back to it,” he said. “If it is not, rent it.”

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