Students express varying opinions about when to buy textbooks


While some students purchase their textbooks weeks before the first day of class, others wait until after the first week of the semester. Some say it is better to be prepared, but not everyone sees it that way. There are many students who think waiting saves them from spending money on unnecessary textbooks.

“Sometimes you don’t need (the textbooks) as much as you would think,” Brent Estes, junior in accounting, said.

Even though he is in upper-level classes, Estes said he has a “bad habit” of waiting to buy his textbooks, so he planned to purchase his books at the end of the first week. He said he believes it is better to get textbooks earlier when taking upper-level courses, however, because the professors tend to use the books more in those classes.

“It really depends on the teacher,” Estes said. “I’ve had teachers say you don’t need the book, but other teachers will say you do.”

According to Kimetris Baltrip, assistant professor of journalism and mass communications, it depends on the professor whether or not a student needs to buy the textbook.

“There’s no universal rule,” Baltrip said. “Each class predicts what’s best for its students.”

Deciding if textbooks are needed for a class should be determined by the course content and the teacher’s preference, Baltrip said. Students can wait to buy their textbooks if they want to; however, Baltrip said they should be sure to have their books by the date their professor assigns.

Some students order textbooks before the semester begins, and then they pick them up on the first day of classes.

Erin Maher, junior in social work and Spanish, said she waited until three days before classes started to buy her books. Maher said she did not feel like she needed to order her books weeks before classes started because she has never had any issues with books being out of stock or back-ordered.

“Even if you don’t need (the textbook) for assignments, you still need the information,” Maher said.

Maher simply orders her books when it is convenient for her. As long as she has the necessary books when she is supposed to have them, she said she doesn’t worry.

Ultimately, students must decide for themselves if they want to buy their books ahead of time.

“Whether or not a student buys (the textbooks) early doesn’t mean they are going to open them,” Baltrip said.

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