Life @ U of T

Introduction

What I Wish I Knew About Textbooks Before University

What I Wish I Knew About Textbooks Before University

We all know that the price of textbooks can add up. Here are some things I’ve learned after two years of university (and many textbooks later).

1. Know how you learn: Online textbooks tend to be cheaper, but if you prefer to study with a physical copy in front of you then it’s usually worth buying. I am one of those people who believes that I just don’t absorb as much information if I read it online. I also get distracted easily if I have my laptop open. Being able to bring only a textbook to the library forces me to work.

Pile of textbooks.Ancient Greek and Latin textbooks.

2. Don’t buy a textbook before the first class: Professors will usually outline how much textbook use there will be during the first lecture. I have been in many classes where the pdf copy of the chapter is posted each week on Quercus. 

A large pile of all my textbooks.

3. The library has textbooks: as a U of T student, there are many libraries available to use. You can search all the libraries to find the textbook you’re looking for. This resource is free, and you can easily go and take pictures or scan the pages. Or even read it there.The Classical World Handbook.

4. You can buy and sell used textbooks on the U of T Textbook Exchange: There are always people selling their old textbooks at relatively cheap prices. This is also a great place to sell your own old textbooks. Upper year books can be harder to find, but for 100-level textbooks there is always a lot of sellers and buyers. 

Textbooks.

5. Some textbooks can be found online for FREE: if you prefer online textbooks, are on a budget, or just don’t like the class, a quick search may lead you to an online pdf. You can save a lot of money by doing a bit of research before buying your textbook. And if you’re lucky, you may come across an answer key! (I found one in first year for my Ancient Greek course!).

Twenty Greek Stories.

6. Other stores sell textbooks too: There are a couple used textbook shops around Toronto (online as well), and if you are a humanities student like me, a regular bookstore can provide textbooks too! You can find Homer’s Odyssey at almost any bookstore, new or used.

Homer's Iliad and Odyssey.

7. You can borrow textbooks from friends: Last year my friend took a Classics course for her breadth requirement. Instead of buying all the books she needed, she just borrowed them from me because I had them all already. 

8. The U of T Bookstore offers used books, and allows you to rent too: Yellow stickers on the spines indicate that the textbook is used and therefore offered at a lower price. And, if you know you will keep it in good condition, you can rent (Note: you need to have a credit card for this).

Used textbooks from the U of T bookstore.

Happy textbook hunting!

-Olive

 

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