A new textbook (Image credit: Scott Feldstein)

The main reason college students shy away from buying brand new textbooks if there are other options available is because these textbooks tend to cost a lot of money and barely fit into the tight budgets of college students who are working multiple jobs and trying to pay off their mounting student loans. However, there are actually a few advantages to buying your books new if you are a smart shopper and understand ways around the high prices.

If you can’t find used or rental copies of certain textbooks, you have to shop around for new copies. This means checking your local bookstores, including the main campus store and any off-campus textbook outlets in your area. Oftentimes, you can save money on new textbooks by purchasing them at an independent bookstore. If you still can’t find them, shop online through Textbooks.org where you can compare prices on most textbooks. There are a number of websites out there that sell cheaper books, even if they are in brand new condition. All it takes is some simple searching and you will be surprised how much money you can save on new books.

Another reason to get your books new is so that you can have a fresh start to the semester. When you buy used books, you are taking a chance on what kind of condition they will be in. Although most books that are sold are in a usable condition, they might have pages that are ripped or even missing, in addition to writing, highlighting, and other markings on the pages. Some books come with CDs and codes for online resources, and these extras are not always included in used copies of books. The prices on used books are great, but sometimes you truly get what you pay for. There may be a reason that a book that would typically cost $100 new is only $30 used.

Finally, since textbook publishers like to come out with new editions of their textbooks frequently, there are some instances where it is almost a better option to buy a new copy of a book just to be sure that you are getting the right edition. For example, even though a certain website might list the fifth edition of Neuroscience by Dale Purves, there could be a typo or some other reason that the actual book being sold is not the one that you specifically need for a class. The ISBN number is a great way to verify this information to make sure you are getting the right one. But there are still some pitfalls to the book-buying process when you go with other versions of books rather than sticking to the brand new ones. This is why shopping at a campus bookstore and buying at least some of your books new is the smartest thing to do in many cases.