With the Fall 2009 semester just around the corner, UCF students once more get to partake in the bookstore’s favorite pastime: mercilessly ravaging students’ wallets via textbook purchases.

But fear not! Thanks to KnightNews.com, a list of alternative book-buying options is on hand, along with a Facebook group that may revolutionize the way Knights get books.

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For price comparison, the book required for US Health Care Systems, HSA 3111, (Delivering Health Care in America, 4th Edition) will be used.

Around Campus and In Person 

  1. The UCF Bookstore 

    Everyone has their own horror story with the main bookstore on campus, whether it be long lines or exorbitant charges for texts or getting royally shafted when it comes to buy back time by getting next to nothing back for the book you barely used. For convenience, this venue undoubtedly claims the prize, but what you get in ease of access is a bill the size of a small country’s GDP. While they have pretty much all the books available or those little cards ready for pre-order, and wonderful gifts and gadgets, it’s pretty much a judgment call for you: books…or rent? New, the text listed above costs $101.35 and used, it’s $76.00.   

  2. CB&S Bookstore
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    Next on the list is College Book and Supply, with two locations nearby the main campus, and one on the way near Kirkman Road. Like the UCF bookstore, they have enough gear to clothe all of Central Florida, and their books are still pretty pricey, but cheaper by comparison. New, the text is $97.50, and used it’s $73.50. 

  4. Gray’s Bookstore
  5. Gray’s is a cool little bookstore right near UCF and it’s almost like the treasure trove of coins from the original Super Mario Brothers in that you may not know it’s there, but when you jump down the pipes and find it you won’t be disappointed. New, the text is $92.20 and used it is $69.15, which makes it the cheapest of all the bookstores surrounding campus. 

  6. Friends 

    If you keep company with friends in same or similar majors, chances are they may have a book or two to rent or lend for the semester(s) that you may need it. Groups like the Pre-Professional Medical Society or the American Medical Student Association have a large pre-health member base, and thus, would probably have a bunch of people with pre-health books. The same goes for other majors and career interests as well. So, join groups like these not only for résumé building, but for deals on books you may not have found otherwise. If you’re lucky, you could borrow the book used for free, or rent it or purchase it at a real bargain.

Off Campus and Online 

  1. Craigslist Shady though some portions of this site may be, Craigslist does have a collection of various college books, not just for UCF students, but for local community colleges as well. There are currently two listings in Orlando for the above book, and both are used at $65.        

  2. Facebook Marketplace Facebook is good for things other than creeping and socializing. The marketplace has plenty of books available, and other college-life essentials such as mini-fridges and microwaves and whatever else that may be needed. However, finding local results are a rarity, so it’s not the trustiest of sources, especially if you’re making a last minute purchase. There’s only one copy in the US available (all the way in Arizona) available for $58.       

  3. Campusbooks.com Campusbooks.com is an epic website that lists books available from many online retailers with side-by-side price analysis, with a summary of the cheapest new, used and for rent books on top. The cheapest book available new is listed as $75.96 with free shipping from Textbooks.com. As for used, the cheapest checks in at $63.49 from Amazon Marketplace, with shipping included in the price. And the cheapest for rent is $50.75 through Chegg.com, including shipping.       

  4. The Usual Suspects There are websites that pretty much everyone knows about, such as Amazon, Half.com, Ebay.com, Textbooks.com, Ecampus.com, Cheapbooks.com, Biblio.com, Zollege.com, Bookfaced.com and the list goes on. There’s always Google too.       

  5. Chegg.com
    If you’re not the type to keep books for a reference later in your studies, then renting the book may be right up your alley. Chegg.com is a website specially tailored for renting texts per semester, quarter or for 60 days. The book is available for rent at a price of $46.96 (not including shipping) for the semester. A list of pertinent FAQs are available here: http://www.chegg.com/howitworks/ 

UCF Textbook Exchange  

Saving the best for last, KnightNews.com has an exclusive interview with the administrator of the Facebook group “UCF Textbook Exchange”, a group that has been getting students’ their books since some time last year. The last source for textbooks on this list got me the book listed above for $50, the cheapest deal in this entire article. I’ve also sold a text for $40 when no bookstore was taking it back. Moral? Join the Facebook group, and get great deals. 

Here’s our exclusive interview with the administrator of “UCF Textbook Exchange,” Selina Christine Mullenax:

(KN: KnightNews. SCM: Selina Christine Mullenax) 

KN: Tell us about yourself (name, major, classification etc. etc.)

SCM: My name is Selina Christine Mullenax. I’m a double major in Event Management and Hospitality Management, and this is my second year at UCF. 

KN: How would you define the UCF Textbook Exchange?

SCM: The UCF Textbook Exchange is an easy way to buy your books for less and sell your books for more. 

KN: What gave you the idea to create the group?

SCM: After seeing the buy-back prices for textbooks at the end of my first semester, I thought “there has to be more than this!” I did my research and realized that I could just make up a Group by myself. 

KN: How does the group operate?

SCM: It really is easy! You list the books you want to buy or sell in the Discussion Board. The Topics are already set up, and categorized, alphabetically, with the acronyms of all of the classes offered at UCF. 

KN: What do you hope comes of it? Where do you see the group by time you graduate?

SCM: The Group is a bit difficult to maintain, because sometimes people post things in the wrong topics and then others forget to go back and look at their posts. My hope is that I can find someone dedicated or interested enough, that will be able to run things once I graduate. And though the number of members isn’t the biggest deal, having more people just makes things easier on everyone buying and selling books. 

KN: Where do YOU get your textbooks?

SCM: If I can’t find books that I need through the UCF Textbook Exchange, I use Campusbooks.com. 

KN: What was your worst textbook experience?

SCM: We’re all had those times where you buy a book for over $200, and sell it back for around $20. That’s the worst! 

KN: If Facebook imploded on itself somehow, how would you go about keeping your group alive?

SCM: I’m not sure I would. Facebook is a big deal in making this Group work. As a social networking site, it’s extremely helpful in finding fellow students at UCF, who could join the Group. 

The group is still growing and is obviously a great success, and can be joined here: http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=39546144101&ref=ts