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How I Lasted An Entire Semester Without Buying a Textbook

I didn’t plan to last the semester without buying a textbook. I have been the student to take an average of 15-17 units every semester— with textbooks. But, as a Junior, I used some of the information I’ve gathered from experience and tribulations that landed me right at this point.

According to Statistics from the Point Loma Nazarene University Bookstore, a student at PLNU spends an average of $150 every semester on textbook rentals and purchases. If the numbers do or don’t surprise, the bookstore let us know that students can also save roughly up to 80% off of retail price with their textbook rentals and purchases through their price matching system as well.

Even with the savings, I kept delaying the process of price matching and purchases. Although I do not recommend this to become a lifestyle, listed are a few of the ways I was able to last and pass my fall semester courses without touching my wallet.

  1. Figure out the textbooks you need.

I’ve only ever noticed when it’s too late. I purchase all of the required books for my semester classes just to watch the pages of several remain untouched. Although book requirements vary by course and professor, the first week of the new semester was my chance to test the waters. By gathering information from the professor, friends who have already taken the course, and the syllabus— I was able to time out when and where I should purchase a textbook and if I should at all.

  1. Stay Social.

If making friends to stay socially active isn’t a good enough excuse to make friends, then do it for the textbook. Asking around for a textbook a friend was no longer using/was willing to share was a tactic that had worked in my favor this semester. If you and a friend are taking the same course and are close enough to share, I recommend splitting the cost of the book. My roommate was kind enough to lend me the books with no hard feelings but splitting the cost of a book can still help downsize your bill and give you access to the physical copy when needed.

  1. If you have the sources— use them.

Whether it’s the online catalog or the physical copy, the Ryan Library had me when nothing else did. PLNU’s online library content and services gave me, along with students and faculty, the access to thousands of books, media and selected articles throughout the semester. WorldCat, the online library network used by the Ryan Library, may have been my saving grace when it came to finding the book that I needed to turn in assignments accurately and on time.


About the author

Brooke Mora

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