If you’re a budget-conscious student, buying used nursing books is a practical way to save an average of 50% - and even up to 90% - on textbooks. Students often ask whether used books are acceptable substitutes for new, and the answer is yes: they feature identical content at lower price points. They’re also low-risk, since bookstores typically have very liberal and accommodating return policies. Many rentals are used, too, so they offer a way to save even more on upfront costs.

Here’s everything you need to know to save big with used books.

Contents
  1. Know where to buy used nursing books
  2. See why it pays to compare prices
  3. View real-world examples: New VS used
  4. Understand the disadvantages of used nursing books
  5. Get tips to save even more

1. Know where to buy used nursing books

Saving money starts with knowing your book buying options. Each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Online bookstores

Online bookstores typically boast large catalogs that make it easy to find used books, though not every bookstore has every book. That means you might need to check multiple stores to get the all the books you need.

It's a good idea to research shipping times to make sure your books will arrive before the semester begins. Most online bookstores offer fast shipping, and some even ship for free. That makes them ideal if you prefer the convenience of online shopping to bookstore lines, and you're willing to wait a little longer to get your books.

Advantages
  • Good selection
  • Free shipping
  • Convenient

Disadvantages
  • You might need to search multiple stores
  • Shipping times and fees (though some offer free shipping)

Examples

Compare prices from all these stores and more with DirectTextbook.com. Start your search

Online marketplaces and apps

You can get used textbooks on peer-to-peer platforms like eBay, Craigslist and OfferUp. However, these sites do not have bookstore inventories so finding the exact books you need can be a shot in the dark, unless you're using a localized app near a large nursing school or a global site like eBay.

Make sure you understand marketplace policies before you buy, especially since sites like Craigslist are unmoderated. If your books arrive tattered, torn or with missing pages, you might not have any recourse unless the site offers buyer protection.

Pricing varies: eBay auctions and shipping fees can drive prices up for in-demand books, for example, though you might be able to negotiate lower prices on sites like Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace. If the seller is local, you can also get your books fast – but you'll likely need to meet the seller in person.

Keep an eye out for scams and always take proper security measures. eBay, for example, offers buyer protection – but it doesn't always prevent scams. Meeting an unknown seller in person can even be dangerous: always take a friend along and meet in a well-lit, public place for your own protection.

Advantages
  • Opportunity to negotiate lower prices (in some cases)
  • Fast transactions for local purchases
  • Buyer protection (on some platforms)

Disadvantages
  • Limited selection
  • Unmoderated sales (on some platforms)
  • Uncertain shipping times
  • Meeting sellers in person
  • Potential for scams

Examples

College bookstores

Your campus bookstore is a convenient place to buy used books – provided they're in stock. College bookstores are first-come, first-serve, and limited inventory means there's a chance they won't have used copies of every book you need. The best strategy is to get there early so you can beat other budget-minded students for used editions.

Note that college bookstores typically charge more than other options, so you could wind up waiting in a long line to overpay for your books. Campus bookstores do offer resources you can't get elsewhere, though, like knowledgeable staff members who can help you find your course textbook lists. In addition, many college bookstores now offer online textbook buying options.

Advantages
  • In-person staff assistance
  • On campus convenience
  • Inspect before you buy

Disadvantages
  • Limited inventory for used textbooks
  • High prices
  • Potential for long waits

Examples

Local bookstores

You can check off-campus bookstores located near your school to see if they have used books for sale. Local stores often buy used books at the end of the semester, then resell them for a profit – typically at a discount compared to campus bookstores.

Like campus bookstores, you can physically inspect books before you buy them – but inventory is likewise limited, so it might be a good idea to call ahead before you venture off campus.

Advantages
  • Cheaper prices
  • Inspect before you buy

Disadvantages
  • Limited inventory
  • You might have to travel if no local stores are nearby

How to find local bookstores
  • Search Google for “bookstores near me,” “off campus bookstore near me,” “textbooks near me” and related terms

2. See why it pays to compare prices

College books and supplies cost an average of $1,298 per year, per student. You can significantly lower your costs if you know where to get the lowest prices. A textbook price comparison service like DirectTextbook.com makes it easy.

Textbook price comparison services offer multiple advantages, including:

Up to 90% savings

DirectTextbook.com, for example, instantly searches dozens of trusted online stores to find the lowest prices for used books. The service is 100% free, and even identifies stores that offer free shipping plus automatically applies coupons to help you get the lowest possible price.

Maximum inventory

Inventory is practically unlimited when you search multiple stores with a single click. That means you won't waste time scouring dozens of online bookstores or taking trips to local stores, only to find they're out of stock. Instead, you can get all the books you need with a single, simple search. It also means you'll get your books in time for the semester to start.

Speed and convenience

With DirectTextbook.com, you can find all the books you need with a single search: paste in your ISBNs, and the service will present two options:

  • The lowest total price (if you want to buy from multiple stores)
  • The lowest single store price (if you want to buy from a single store)

It's a fast, easy and convenient way to skip the bookstore line and save big on textbooks at the same time.

3. View real-world examples: New VS used

So, how much can you save when you buy used instead of new? Here's a real-world comparison from The University of Oklahoma Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing 2019-2020 RN-to-BSN/LPN-to-BSN book list:


TITLE

NEW PRICE

USED PRICE ON DIRECTTEXTBOOK.COM

Foundations of Population Health for Community/Public Health Nursing 5th (978-0-323-44383-8)

$116

$55

Wong's Nursing Care of Infants and Children 11th (978-0-323-54939-4)

$134

$90

Medical-Surgical Nursing: Assessment and Management of Clinical Problems, Single Volume 10th (978-0-323-32852-4)

$170

$32

The Future of Disability in America (978-0-309-10472-2)

$67

$8

Evidence-Based Nursing 4th (978-1-284-09943-0)

$119

$48

Leadership and Nursing Care Management 6th (978-0-323-38966-2)

$88

$42

Professional Issues in Nursing: Challenges and Opportunities with Access 5th (978-1-4963-9818-5)

$79

$51


* New prices Barnes & Noble retail

As you can see, buying used represents significant savings over buying new. Here's how much you could save for a single course – in this case, Clinical Nursing IV LPN (NURS 4226):


TITLE

NEW PRICE

USED PRICE ON DIRECTTEXTBOOK.COM

Wong's Nursing Care of Infants and Children 11th (978-0-323-54939-4)

$134

$90

Medical-Surgical Nursing: Assessment and Management of Clinical Problems, Single Volume 10th (978-0-323-32852-4)

$170

$32

Leadership and Nursing Care Management 6th (978-0-323-38966-2)

$88

$42

TOTAL PRICE

$392

$164

SAVINGS

 

$228 savings


In this scenario, you would save $228 on nursing books for a single course – or 58%. Multiply that by four courses, and you could save $912. Thus, it's easy to see how comparing prices – and buying used – saves an average of 50% on textbook costs. In some cases, you can save up to 90%.

4. Understand the disadvantages of used nursing books

Buying used clearly saves money, but some students still prefer other options like new textbooks, ebooks and rentals. Here's how they compare.

New textbooks

Brand-new textbooks cost more, but they also come without the normal wear and tear that can accompany used textbooks. Even used textbooks in good condition can come with highlights from previous students (though some students find those highlights helpful study guides).

You might also consider buying new if you'll need the same textbook for multiple classes, or if you intend to keep a textbook for reference when you begin your career.

Ebooks

Ebooks are another cost-saving alternative, especially if you're comfortable reading from a screen. With ebooks, you typically pay for access for a specified time – often the length of a semester – and that access is revoked once your subscription ends. Some ebooks come with interactive features such as digital highlighting, bookmarks and additional links and resources.

Ebooks offer instant access, which is particularly valuable if you waited until the last minute, and they're typically cheaper than used books. For example, Wong's Nursing Care of Infants and Children 11th costs around $90 used, but you can get it for $37 in ebook format.

However, you also won't be able resell the ebook once your subscription ends – and at the time of this writing, a used edition of that book sells for as much as $63. That's a net cost of $27, which makes the used option cheaper than the ebook option.

Rentals

Textbook rentals put a physical copy in your hand for a specified time – again, the length of a semester. You might consider renting if you want physical books at minimal cost, and you don't want to hassle with selling your books when you're done with them.

You'd pay around $18 for a 151-day rental of our example textbook, Wong's Nursing Care of Infants and Children 11th, making it the cheapest option available.

5. Get tips to save even more on used nursing books

Use these tips to save even more money when you buy used books for nursing school.

  • Consider alternative editions: International editions, teacher's editions and previous editions are often available used, sometimes for lower prices than their “standard” or current counterparts
  • Avoid custom textbooks: Some schools partner with publishers to print custom textbook editions that can't be found through textbook search engines. You end up paying full price, even though custom textbooks typically have the same content as existing textbooks, albeit with a revised introduction or a custom chapter. However, if you research the title and publisher, you can probably figure out which book it is. Or, ask your professor (many are happy to help students save money). Then, you can buy the used edition
  • Buy as soon as you can: Inventories are stocked soon after semesters end as students sell their used books to buyback stores. Buy while supply is high and demand is low, since prices can increase when supply dwindles and demand peaks. Contact your school to get a required textbook list as soon as possible
  • Plan to sell: You can minimize your overall costs by selling textbooks when you're done with them. Wong's Nursing Care of Infants and Children 11th, for example, costs $134 new – but you can buy it used for $90, then sell it for $63, resulting in a net cost of just $27. That's $107 cheaper than if you bought it new and didn't resell it

Nursing education is expensive, but that doesn't mean you need to pay full price for your books. With used books, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars while you're earning your nursing degree.

    Jul 22, 2020    Comments     (3)   Share: Share This Page Share on Facebook Tweet This


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