Should I buy new or used textbooks for college?

I know I can save money by purchasing used textbooks, which is fine with me, but what about old highlights and annotations? What if the previous owner failed the course? Should I just pony up and buy the new book so I can start fresh? I'm leaning toward buying new, but I wanted to get someone else's opinion. By the way, I am 35 years old, and I start my first year of college in January.

14 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Buying new and used textbooks is always the question- usually the difference between prices is anywhere between $20- $50 in difference between the two.

    What I have always done with buying textbooks is look at the actual courses themselves. Is the course that this textbook is for my major? or is it just one I am taking for fun? If it is my major I am more likely to lean towards getting a new textbook- not just because it won't be highlighted, but also because I am more likely to keep it after the class has finished and so you want it to be in the best state it possibly can be. If the course is not one of my major courses- then unless it is a subject I extremely like- I tend to go to the used section and get those textbooks and save money that way.

    As for your question about whether the previous owner failed the course- if the person actually read the textbook and highlighted it and made notes in the margins I'm inclined to say that the student has a low probability of having failed the course. Normally students fail the course for not reading their textbooks, or if they do- not fully interacting with the books and completely absorbing everything.

    Old highlights and annotations can be extremely helpful- this is especially true if you know that the person that had the text was an extremely good student- but can be true even if the person wasn't. For instance- last year I took a Bioethics course and I bought my textbook used off of a person who took the class last year. Now- to put it lightly, this textbook was very dry and very hard to get through but because the person who used it last year and made annotations in the margin and highlighted important facts it was a little easier to get through. In a way it's kind of like having a guiding hand through your course to direct you a long the way who has been in your situation.

    In the end its all personal preference- but if you do get new textbooks- if you didn't like the course, or don't want to keep the textbooks after you finish the course you will usually get more money back, and be able to sell the books for more if they were originally new. Currently I'm a third year university student- so I have been in your situation numerous times. I hope this helps and good luck in college!

  • ?????
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    USED! Even if you buy new books when you go to turn them back in they give you next to nothing for the amount you paid for them originally.

    Used are fine so what if they are highlighted just ignore it. So what if the previous owner failed the course that doesn't mean you will. Just make sure all the pages are in the book and you will be fine.

    Congratulations on going to college! You'll enjoy it!

  • 1 decade ago

    Buy used, but look through the book before you purchase youll be surprised to find that many of them wont have writing in them. If the writing is just too much then you may want to. Also consider selling your book directly to another buyer taking the class to get more money back. Also, i have found that even buying an older edition of the book has no effect on accurate stuying of the course material.

    Source(s): Good luck, Im happy to hear that your starting school, pretty cool
  • 1 decade ago


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  • 1 decade ago

    Always buy used books, because sometimes the person that owned it before made highlights in some of the pages for important things.

  • 1 decade ago

    Used is cheaper, but people's markings are annoying. If you have time go through all the used books and pick the ones with the least amount of writing, or the one's with only pencil marks. If you can't get either of those, you should just by the new ones. Assess the situation when you get to the bookstore (you might want to try more than one bookstore if possible).

    Source(s): Have a M.A. and am working on a J.D.
  • 1 decade ago will tell you what the quality of the used book is, so you can make sure not to get one that's all marked up. Or if your school bookstore sells used books, go look at them, and get the cleanest one.

    It's only worth buying your book new if it's something that care about and would like to keep. For instance I bought all my art history books, but only borrowed a math book...

  • 1 decade ago

    I think you have to buy used text books, but before buying look at them to see how "used" they are. If you think it is too highlighted or damaged, go for a new one. Buying used text books will save you money that you can use to buy some other reference books that will help you on your asignments.

  • Mrs_M
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    I say buy used, the prices for new ones are outrageous. Look in the book first though to make sure it's not missing pages or written in too much.

  • jody n
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    i would get the used i did it will save money and the highlighted parts are only usually highlighted for the facts believe me it really helped me if they failed its from lack of study

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