In my last year of high school, all my teachers reminded us that this would be the last year we would be getting our books from the library. After we leave the safe halls of grade school, we’re going to have to buy all our books.
Every. Single. One.
There will no longer be piles of textbooks in the back of the school library, ready to be dog-eared again.
It won’t be as simple as lining up with the rest of my class as we file rambunctiously down the hallway only to be shushed by the librarian.
No. Now we have to actually buy books. It’s exciting, definitely, but to some, that prospect is a bit overwhelming.
At U of T, there are many options. Save the obvious ones, it’s a bit hard to navigate. Here’s a list of some places/people you can get your textbooks from.
You can find the U of T Bookstore inside Koffler Centre, on the corner of St. George and College. This is where you will find most of your books. They can be new or used. Recently, they started a rental program, which means you don’t have to buy a textbook at full price for an elective course! I did that for a stats course I knew I was only taking to fulfill my degree requirement. Saved me almost $80, since I rented a new book.
Across the street from the U of T Bookstore is the Discount Bookstore. They have pretty much the same selection of the U of T Bookstore, but at slightly different prices. Here’s my tip to you: they’re called the Discount Bookstore, but not all their prices are necessarily lower than the U of T Bookstore. Take the trip across the street and compare prices – a short walk can save you a few dollars.
Some courses require you to buy books from specific stores. The Women’s Bookstore is one that my old roommate always visited. It’s located on Harbord and Spadina, so it’s not too far of a walk from campus.
Soooo I’m going to come clean and say I’ve never used the UTSU Book Exchange. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t use it! You basically set a price for your textbooks, and sell them. You can also buy old textbooks through the service.
Earlier today, the community crew told me about the Bob Miller Book Room on Bloor and Avenue. I’ve never been there, but the fact that it’s hidden in the basement of an office building makes it a pretty neat place to hear about and visit.
I’ve used TUSBE a lot over the years. You can search for your books by class or author and look for the best offer. Visit TUSBE early though. All the good offers get taken up fast. I’ve gotten a lot of my textbooks through this website, so I highly recommend it! blogUT has a wonderful post on TUSBE, so be sure to read it.
6. Ads on Bulletin Boards
One day, early in my first year, I was standing by the elevator at the Koffler Centre. For whatever reason, I was looking at the giant bulletin board and saw an ad for a set of books for MAT135. I hadn’t bought my books for that course yet, so I jotted down the contact and emailed the person as soon as I got back to res. Within a week, I got textbooks, solution books and years of past exams for a price that’s lower than the selling price at the bookstore. Moral of the story: don’t ignore those bulletin boards.
7. Various printing stores – Prof Specific
Sometimes, non-science classes have assigned course readers. These are just lots of articles and readings that your professor has put together in one package. The reason why profs use this is that they might find buying a whole book a waste if all you need is one chapter. Other times, it may be out-of-print articles. Sometimes, the prof gets these course readers made through the U of T press. Other times profs will direct you one of the printing stores that surrounding the campus. To know how to get there, you might have to wait until classes start.
Some profs are very nice and green-conscious, and put the readings up online for you. It might be a pdf scan of parts of a book they have in their collection, or it might be an electronic copy of a journal article. The prof might either upload it on to the U of T Portal or tell you to search it up on our library website. You’re saving paper and money.
If there’s one tip I can give you, especially to first years, is to not buy your books too early. What I mean is, don’t feel like you have to buy your books weeks in advance. Sometimes, the book list on your course syllabus is different than the book list at the bookstore. You don’t want to end up buying a book that is “recommended”, not “required”, by accident. Like I said before, sometimes you won’t even know where to get your books until your prof tells you.
Good luck, and happy book hunting!