Extra tips (course specific) for buying used textbooks, from what I’ve been seeing on Facebook.
Mastering Physics Code: It seems like everybody and their mother are looking for this. BE WARNED: YOU CANNOT GET THIS CODE USED! Only one student can register for each Mastering Physics Code one time (although this student can use the code for multiple Physics classes for about 2 years before it expires). There are some people selling the code though for various reasons, such as they took Phys 100, bought the code and then took Phys 101, bought the package which came with the code and they didn’t need their second code. But before you agree to purchase somebody’s code, make sure it has NOT BE USED and is NOT SUPER OLD (if they’ve had the code for 5 years…just to be safe, I wouldn’t get it), otherwise the code is useless for you. Some people don’t know this, I have friends who try to sell their used codes without knowing that only one person can use it.
Phys 101/Phys 102: If you’re planning on taking both courses, it’s probably going to be a better deal if you buy a copy of the textbook from someone selling the 5 volume set. Last year, the Physics department decided to be nice and help students save money, so they arranged to get only the parts from the Physics textbook (Physics for Scientists and Engineers 2E) needed for each course and put them together. So they pulled out the chapters from the original text and sold them as custom books for each course. Which is great because they included Mastering Physics too,sold it for only $100 and you don’t have to waste space and money on chapters you don’t need! However, if you buy each package separately, it’s gonna cost you about $200 and you’re gonna have to go through the hassle of trying to sell that unused Mastering Physics Code. A lot of people on Facebook are selling the 5 volume set (the original, full text) for about $70, if you buy Mastering Physics on it’s own, it’s $60. That would be $130 for both courses.
Lab Manuals (Eg. Chem 121/123, Phys 101/102, Biol 140): Generally CANNOT be re-used. Although the material found in both old and new are relatively the same, you usually have to pull out pages to fill out and hand into your TAs. People will try to sell you the lab manual without those worksheets, but it’s useless if you don’t even have the sheets to hand in.
CHIRP (CHEM 121): I LOVED my CHIRP, it was great. This is an amazing textbook/workbook combination where every single Chem 121 professor follows and teaches you how to do the questions in the book. There’s also pages for you to jot down your own notes. Because of the extent of personalization this textbook/workbook allows, many students end up writing in this a lot and doing the questions right in the book. This is the only textbook I’ve ever written in and I found it helped a lot during lectures in terms of helping me better understand the material. I would suggest you buy this textbook brand new, unless the seller is selling one with no writing at all. The 2012 edition is the newest edition for this fall, if you’re looking for a used edition, it will be either 2009, 2010 or 2011.
English Novels (Engl 110/111): Check your libraries first before purchasing these books! Professors usually assign popular books for this class and these books can be found anywhere! The public library is the best as you can take a book out for 4 weeks and keep renewing it if nobody is requesting it. If your professors gives you a reading schedule, you can follow it and not have to keep the novels for more than 4 weeks! I saved over $100 doing this when I was taking English 110.
Access Codes: Aside from Phys 101 and Chem 233 I have never used any of the access codes that come with those textbook packages that the Bookstore sells. Mastering Bio and Mastering Chemistry? Nobody uses that, so don’t be worried if you’re buying someone’s textbook and they don’t have it, it’s still probably gonna be cheaper to buy the textbook and the code separately if you do end up needing it. It’s just the publisher’s way of making money. I’m not too familiar with Econ 101/102 and Math 184/104/105, but I think they need the codes as well. If you’re unsure, email your professor!
Remember the risk that you’re taking when you’re purchasing a used textbook from someone, be careful and ensure that it’s the textbook you need! Meet the seller in a public place and try to bring exact change. No refunds! Good luck!