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Features  Published 09/02/10 10:13am

FGTNSO2010: Books

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Welcome back to the latest installment in the Freshman Guide To NSO 2010. In this episode, we'll teach you how to buy books, ideally without shelling out for a brand-new one you'll open once before finals.

Before we navigate the sea of texts, we'd like to issue one word of caution: DON'T BUY YOUR BOOKS YET! Don't buy them until you're certain you want to be in the class. It's okay, no one else has bought them either. And you're not going to do the first reading. It's Rosh Hashanah!

The hands-down easiest way to find what you need is to just use Book.ly, which compares all your options for you across several different websites. They even have a custom version for Penn students! But if you want discounts, pros and cons, and other tips, click after the jump.

Option 1: Borrowing From Kids Who Took The Class Before

Seriously guys. If you have older friends, chances are they also took Econ 10. Ask them! They're probably dying to sell those books to you dirt cheap. They may have even left the answers if it's a workbook or something.

*UTB Tip: Don't ever buy The Practice of Writing. You can pretty much ask anyone on the street and they'll throw it at you.

Option 2: Renting Books

Back in the day, you had to buy books at the bookstore, which was a two-mile walk in the snow uphills, both ways. And we liked it! But now, you can do awesome things like RENT books. On the internet!

Advantages of renting textbooks:

1. It's definitely cheaper than buying a book new.
2. It's usually cheaper than buying a book used.
3. You don't have to worry about selling, schlepping, or storing the book at the end of the year-- you just send it right back.
4. Most book-rental places throw in some added charity work every time you use them.
5. Free shipping!

Disadvantages of renting textbooks:

1. You can't write or highlight in them that much.
2. You're paying for something and you can't even keep it.
3. You may miss out on selling it used at a good price.
4. If you lose it, there are consequences.

So, after you've weighed these pros and cons yourself, you have several options as to where to do your business. We've included some of the more popular ones here, but know that if you're still not satisfied you can Google "book rentals" and see if some smaller ones are more to your liking.

Chegg: Book rental, some workbook sales, will buy books
Discount code for 5% off your order: CC128561
Rent by: Quarter, Semester, or 60 days
Bonus: Plant a tree every time you rent a book and $5 bonus for selling old books with code
Known for giving out weird orange slap bracelets around campus

BookRenter.com: Book rental, book sales, will buy books
Discount code for 5% off your offer: YfZ9z
Rent by: Quarter, Semester, 30, 45, or 60 days
Bonus: Donates to FirstBook for every order
Double Bonus: Will donate $2 to Textbooks4Education's scholarship fund with the above code for every order

CollegeBookRenter: Book rental, book sales, will buy books
Discount code for 5% off your order: CBR236000
Rent by: Quarter, Semester, 60 days
Bonus: Will donate 2% of the order to Textbooks4Education's scholarship fund with the above code

ECampus: Book rental, book sales, will buy books
Discount code for 5% off your order (rental only): EE15523
Rent by: Quarter, Semester, 60 days
Bonus: Will donate $2 of any rental to Textbooks4Education's scholarship fund with the above code
Downside: Shipping is only free on orders over $59.

*UTB Tip: This year, the Penn Bookstore has started some sort of rental program, but it's only for certain books and doesn't come with any of the above discounts or charity works. So check it out at your own risk.

Option 3: Buying Books

So you want to doodle in your book or spill on it it or something. That's cool too. While the Penn Bookstore does sell some used books, they are few and far between. You could buy them new there, but like... yeah. Why?

Penn Book Bazaar
Freshly launched for this school year, the IFC-UA collab lets Penn students buy and sell textbooks to each other. While the site still has some kinks and not many books are available, this will probably become a big thing in the next few years.

The best tip we have for buying books is to take advantage of the free Amazon Prime for students. Just plug in your .edu email address (we KNOW! How cool is it that you have a college email!?) and sign up for a year of free two-day shipping!

*UTB Tip: If you're buying a book for a class you and your BFF take, just buy one copy and share it. The likelihood that you'll both be reading it ever all the time is slim.

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