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Scott Gamm

Scott Gamm

Posted: August 27, 2010 12:34 PM

I know it sounds hard to believe, but Congress is helping college students save money -- on textbooks that is. This month, more than 18 million students will be attending college and according to the College Board, spending an average of $1,000 on textbooks. A new law just took effect to help students combat the high costs of textbooks.

The law aims to provide more transparency and fairness to the entire textbook industry. It took effect on July 1st and was apart of the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008. Here's how students will be impacted:

1. Universities must give students a price list of all the textbooks required and the book's ISBN number at the time students enroll for classes. This will give students time to shop around and compare textbook prices among different retailers.

2. For the first time, textbook publishers must inform professors of the prices of their textbooks. Surprisingly, 77% of professors say that publishers don't voluntarily disclose the price. This will allow professors to offer a less expensive textbook to their students.

3. Most textbook publishers bundle textbooks with CDs and additional workbooks - 65% of professors say that they don't need these extra items. This law will require publishers to sell each item separately, allowing students to only buy what they need.

Other Ways to Save on Textbooks

As an incoming college student at NYU's Stern School of Business, I welcome anything that will help reduce the high costs of textbooks. Here are some ways I am saving money on textbooks:

1. Comparing Prices: There is no better opportunity than now to compare prices of textbooks, thanks to this new law. Use this textbook search engine from HelpSaveMyDollars.com - it compares book prices and finds the cheapest retailers.

If you have an iPhone, download apps from CampusBooks.com and BigWords.com (a site that allows users to buy and sell used textbooks).

2. Renting Textbooks: Why buy when you can rent? Since you only need your textbooks for a semester or two, you can save hundreds by renting your textbooks. Visit Chegg.com and BookRenter.com.

3. Promotional Codes:
When shopping online, chances are you'll see a space to type in a promotional code -- don't leave that box blank! Instead, head to PromotionalCodes.com to find money saving promotional codes -- for textbooks and free shipping.

4. Selling Textbooks: If you plan on purchasing textbooks, instead of renting them, try selling the book at the end of the semester. Remember, there's an entire new group of students entering that class who are in need of that same textbook.

For more ways to save money on textbooks and back to school expenses, please watch my interview on ABC News from last week:

 

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