Books are the most reliable sources of information currently. A book needn’t be paper and print but also softcopies. For an aspiring student, the knowledge gained at school and college forms the backbone of their career and future. And much of this knowledge comes from course books.
Ways to Save Money on Course Books
Buying second-hand books
The second-hand books market is a large resource. Books on varied subjects are available at much lower prices. In a place where engineering colleges are abundant, there are places which sell almost all the subject’s prescribed text books and reference books at low prices. They are so prevalent that if a book is unavailable, the shop can source it from elsewhere.
Hand-me-downs from seniors
In colleges, most times the students from senior classes help the juniors. Though the relationship between seniors and juniors is a complicated one, when it comes to sharing resources, seniors tend to help the juniors. This comes in the form of course books or comprehensive notes passed down through the batches. Sometimes, these books and notes have valuable, insightful information on the subject jotted down by the previous users.
Most colleges have libraries. Resources in the library can prove very useful because of the varied number of books available on a particular subject. Some libraries allow users to take photocopies of parts of books. In most cases, taking a photocopy of the entire book is prohibited, but a few relevant chapters can be copied for personal use. Even if photocopying is not allowed, one can always use the book as a reference to taking notes. The more obvious use of a library is borrowing the book itself. In the case of libraries outside of college, there might be a membership or borrowing fee that needs to be paid, but this will most always be less expensive than buying the specific course books.
Some books are available as soft copies online. They can be bought at a considerably lower price than their hardcopy counterpart. For those who find reading on a system difficult, the softcopies can always be printed out. Although this might be a more expensive thing to do than to buy a hard copy. Some colleges have access to certain publishing houses and journals, which might provide resources at a discounted rate.
In the realm of audio-visual learning, websites like YouTube are very helpful. They might not have comprehensive information on specific topics but fundamental concepts are described aplenty. Therefore, it is best to use YouTube if one wants to get to grips with basic ideas and concepts taught from various perspectives.
NPTEL(National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning)
NPTEL essentially includes a full course lectures provided to the public for free by the IITs, IIScs, etc. It covers a variety of subjects, and the lectures are in the form of full-length video seminars. Learning from NPTEL could be time-consuming but can prove very useful when specific concepts need to be dealt with comprehensively. Courses can be registered for and learn formally also.
The internet is a massive source of information. Finding what is needed might just be a Google search away. Websites like Wikipedia are open sources and could sometimes hold wrong information. Even then, most articles provide the user with reference website sources that can be checked out. If the doubts or questions about a subject is remotely common, then there is near certainty that someone somewhere has posted a solution. Some websites like TOPPR provide a viable discussion platform where students can get to interact with people to clear doubts. At the end of the day, the knowledge has still been gained, just, not form the books.
Taking notes in class
An effective way to reduce study time and avoid buying expensive books is to pay attention in class and take detailed notes. It makes the learning more personalized and information retention high. Taking notes; however, is not easy. It is not a matter of just writing down what the teacher says. Taking notes is writing down concepts in a personalized way suited to be best understood by the note taker. Good notes can also help others when shared.
Sharing the cost and the books
Some other ways of saving money on books is sharing the cost. A group of students can buy the book and share it amongst themselves by taking photocopies of chapters and studying in a group. It saves money and also encourages the sharing of knowledge. At the very least, everyone has access to the resource.
Some experienced teachers who have been teaching a particular subject for a long time tend to have comprehensive class notes, which have been modified and improved over the years. It is by far the most valuable source of information because it contains not only the basic ideas but also resolutions of doubts that students have put forth over the years. It contains the teachers’ insights and observations. It is almost always simpler than the textbooks and covers the entire syllabus. Unfortunately, not all teachers would want to share their full notes, mostly because they tend to set their question papers from them.
Buying the book and selling it back
This is a long-term solution. Some book stores offer a buyback option. Once the book is first bought, after the semester, it will be bought back by the shop at a lower cost. Another way is to just sell the book to a second-hand store or a buyer directly. It still works out cheaper than buying the book permanently.
These were some of the ways to save money on course books. Read more such informative articles.