I haven’t paid for a textbook in two years


It’s September and that means long, unpleasant lines at the book store and spending a ludicrous amount of money on textbooks.

While buying used books can save your bank, I can’t afford to buy textbooks…so I’m not buying them.

This wasn’t always the case. When my adventure at Ryerson started, I bought all the required books for my courses. Shakespeare books for English class. Course readers for my electives. A whopping $150 for a politics textbook (That one was actually useful).

Then JRN120 happened. I spent all my money on tuition and was still waiting for OSAP loans to come through. I had probably $12.00 in my bank account and my teacher noticed I didn’t have my textbook. Then she made me stand up in front of the class and apologize for “not being prepared.” #CathyAnxiety  #JschoolProblems #StoryIsForAnotherBlog 

I  spent $120 on my textbook. Then we never used it. NOT EVEN ONCE. (I totally didn’t need that money anyway.)



After that experience, I vowed I would never spend money on a textbook again. I made it through second year without buying a book and third year is looking pretty good so far.

Here’s a few ways I managed to be textbook cash-savvy:

1. I discovered that the Ryerson Library has all the textbooks I need. While they’re not always available, you can put a book on hold, and will get an e-mail from the Library when it comes in. It’s worth using the library as an alternative if you don’t have the cash for books.

The library also has E-books, I use them all the time. I also use the Inter-Library Loan system. The awesome folks at the Ryerson Library will get the book you need from another Ontario university. (SIDENOTE: Get on this early so you have the book in time for midterms, quizzes and readings.)

2. Decide if the textbook is essential. Ask other students who have taken the course. Sometimes you don’t need to buy the book, or better yet some classes don’t require texts at all. HST 527  for example, no textbook. Awesome course.

3. I share books with my friends who let me borrow them before midterms or tests. (Thank you)

4. I split the cost of books with friends, and we work out a reading schedule. I did this in first year.

5. It may not be the most ethical suggestion, but sometimes you can download the book online for free. (I may or may not have done this before)

While I realize these ideas don’t workout for every situation, so far it’s worked for me. I’ve managed to spend zero dollars on textbooks in the last two years without sacrificing any of my grades.

Do you have a textbook-savvy tip? Share it with us in the comments below.