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One thing Beth and I frequently run into in our classes is students who do not have their textbooks when the course begins. We hear many excuses, but they typically boil down to two.

The first reason we often hear is something like, “I am waiting for my financial aid to come in.” While we understand this, it does not work. If a student is in their first class of the semester, they may not receive financial aid until the third week, and in a five-week course, that is past the halfway point of the class. You cannot get by without a textbook for three weeks in a five-week class. We suggest that you find out how much your books will cost and save up the funds to purchase them. In many first-year classes, the cost of your books may be less than $50.

The second reason we frequently hear is that the student has ordered the books from the campus bookstore and are waiting for them to arrive. Often, this situation can be avoided because there are other options to ordering your books.

Many students feel they are obligated to buy their textbooks from the university bookstore. That may be all fine and dandy, but are they set up to support online students? It is nearly impossible for campus bookstore to anticipate the demand for books for online classes. Class sections are being added with the click of a button to meet the needs of an ever-growing enrollment, and campus bookstores have no way to anticipate the needs this creates, and therefore they may not have the books you need in stock.

A better way is to look for another source that sends out books right away and if needed, offers the option to ship them overnight. (Such as Amazon Prime for students).

There is another reason this situation occurs, and that is registering for a class that begins right way or within a few days. We understand this. After all, once you are enrolled, why not begin right away?

If you find yourself in one of these situations, remember the importance of getting your textbooks before your first class begins.  Ordering from the traditional campus bookstore may not be your best option. You may be better served by ordering your textbooks from Amazon.com or another online service where you can often find better prices, used books, and even get them delivered for free within a few days (If you sign up for Amazon Prime, which is free for college students).

To find out more about Amazon Prime, click here.