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Education Lab Blog

Education Lab is a project to spark meaningful conversations about education solutions in the Pacific Northwest.

March 10, 2014 at 1:02 PM

How do you save money on textbooks?

Michael Osbun / Op Art

Michael Osbun / Op Art

The high cost of college textbooks is nothing new, but technology could be making it easier for students to pursue cheaper alternatives.

On Sunday, reporter Katherine Long wrote about how college students in Seattle and Tacoma are pushing their professors to seek out free or low-cost online versions of textbooks.

Several readers offered their own advice on how to avoid paying full price for textbooks. From online commenter “drthompson”:

“To save students money, I required the previous edition of the text that can often be found on eBay or Amazon for less than $20 rather than the $140 new version. So many basic topics don’t really change, so there’s no reason to line the pockets of the publishers simply because they decide to ‘update’ textbooks every two years!”

From “Quebec”:

“International Editions of U.S. textbooks are really the way to go to save money. Don’t believe the propaganda that they are of inferior quality. The books printed in India and Pakistan are made with lower quality paper, that’s true. But often the same books are printed in Malaysia and Thailand on U.S.-quality paper and in color, just like the U.S. edition.”

How about you? Do you have any tips for students trying to save money on textbooks? Have you used an open-source text before? Share your experiences in the form below — we’ll post some of the responses on Education Lab later this week.

[do action=”custom_iframe” url=”https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1xA3-M16Dakv3LdXPmhGD1PEhqQSV0p1CKpJizRaf18g/viewform?embedded=true” width=”630″ height=”800″ scrolling=””/]

Comments | More in Question of the Week, Your voices | Topics: e-textbooks, higher ed, textbooks

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The opinions expressed in reader comments are those of the author only, and do not reflect the opinions of The Seattle Times.


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