Whenever you’re in college and want to go where the fun is, you can always head to…the library? Seems like an odd choice, but eMarketer reports that today’s generation of college students are spending more time in front of digital screens than they are back in their rooms watching TV. The library is no longer a place to cram or to pick up books for a last-minute essay: It’s a place where students connect with one another, whether they’re a room away or a state away. This connection is not without risk, however. What threats lurk in libraries?

Mobile Theft

Leave a cell phone on the table while you go to the bathroom, or your laptop on while you head to the printer. Come back, and it’s gone. If this sounds like a familiar story, you have company. Theft is by far the most common crime reported on a college campus. The theft often involves a laptop or mobile phone snatched up when the owner took their eyes off of it for a split second. Pulling an all-nighter at the library may make you less thoughtful of the risks of taking a smoke break or thinking that you are alone in the study section may make you take risks. Whatever the case, you can easily prevent theft simply by having your mobile on your person at all times. Lock it down whenever you do not use it.

Shoulder Surfing

When a person walks by you half a dozen times, they may just admire your shoes or your watch…or they may try to sneak a glance at the digits on display on your screen. “Shoulder surfing” is a real risk to college students at the library or in the dorms, since our passwords, student numbers and even credit card information may show up on display at any given time to anyone who walks past. Be aware of shoulder surfing by accessing password-specific sites before you go to the library and never putting personal information on a page unless you’re in the safety of your apartment or dorm. Get protection against shoulder surfers with an identity theft protection service, so that those who do try to shoulder-snipe your data come away empty handed once they hit the protective wall.

Class Papers

With several hundred students under their charge, a professor likely asks you to include name, student ID and possibly a contact number. If you throw away old papers at the library, you never know who is coming to pick up the trash and glean this treasure trove of personal information. College students are at some of the greatest risks for identity theft, says the Better Business Bureau, partly because they do not realize the importance of shredding or destroying sensitive information. A fellow student, library worker, janitor or random person off the street can take a thrown-out paper and use the information in conjunction with student records or social media pages to steal your identity.

If you’re a student, you know that every penny counts. That said, we’ve put together this new video showing you what’s up with CampusBooks.com and how it’s a must-use savings site for high-school students, undergrads, graduate students, avid readers, and anyone who loves a good deal.

Whether you’re buying books, renting books, or selling books back, we’ve got you covered. See how much you can save using CampusBooks.com, how easy it is, and how you simply can’t afford not to compare prices on textbooks. We’re on your side and helping you save more than just pennies.

All methods for studying are not created equal. In addition to some being more efficient than others, study methods are highly personal and what works for one college student may not work for another. Fear not, we can help you find your study groove.

Just in time for the new semester (and knowing that your time is valuable and limited), we’ve come up with this infographic to help you understand your individual learning style and maximize your academic efforts. Remember: it’s not about studying more or harder, it’s about studying smarter.

Got any more tips, tricks, best practices, pitfalls to avoid when it comes to studying? Leave us a comment and help your fellow students.

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Instead of spending full days in high school classrooms, college students spend significantly less time in the classroom, but more time studying. College students experience more independence, which means more academic responsibility and accountability.

College Classes

As a college student, you’ll choose the courses you take with the help of an academic adviser. Classes may or may not meet every day, and attendance policies will vary widely from school to school and professor to professor. You’re responsible for arriving on time, completing assigned readings, and turning in homework when it’s due. Your job is to pay attention during lectures and note important points to remember for passing the exam or writing a term paper.

Students are also required to buy their own textbooks, which can be costly. Research any e-textbooks to save money, and download the NOOK Study app as a study tool for organization, reading, highlighting, note taking, and researching.

Study Methodology

For every hour you spend in class per week (or for each semester hour of your total course load), you should be prepared to study for at least 2 to 3 hours per week. If you’re taking a full course load of 15 semester hours, studying at least 30 to 45 hours a week is a good objective.

Check the syllabus lists for specific reading material on a given day. The expectation is that you will have read it before coming to class, which means devise your own system for keeping track of assignments.

If you use your laptop, tablet or Netbook during class, Evernote can help you take notes and organize information. As another study buddy, check out Simplenote for effective note taking, list making and sharing capabilities for study groups. It uses Pinterest-like pins and Facebook-like tags.

Tests & Grading

As you walk into a lecture hall, expect occasional quizzes that may or may not be announced. Tests are comprehensive and have significance impact on your final course grade. Professors may conduct review sessions outside of class hours and provide study guides. Exams won’t follow the same formats, which may be a combination of multiple choice, short answer and essay. If you miss a test, it’s your responsibility to contact the professor and discuss how and if you can make it up.

Online Learning

Online education is a practical and affordable academic alternative for students who work full-time or need flexibility. On-campus college students can even enroll in a single online class if the desired course doesn’t fit into their schedule or if it’s full. Full-time students enrolled in an online institution can still earn a credible certification or degree. For example, Penn Foster offers certificate, associates and bachelors degree programs as well as online student communities and active social networking pages that support student interaction within the virtual universe.

Google Drive also provides online students with spreadsheet and word processing capabilities that can be shared among multiple users. Students who want to share notes, ideas, or other information with their fellow students, or with professors, can do so easily with Google’s free apps.

How Can I Tell Whether It’s Better to Buy Textbooks or to Rent Them?

We know that it can be a little confusing to discern which is the better deal — buying or renting textbooks. And the truth is that it’s a little confusing because there is no right answer for every student or even for every book; sometimes buying textbooks is best, sometimes renting books is the better option.

So how do you know? Well, just in the nick of time for back-to-school, we’ve got a brand-new infographic sure to help you be the smartest shopper you can be when it comes to textbooks. Save on, students, save on.

Renting vs Buying Textbooks

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On June 28, we shared (via Facebook) an Inside Higher Ed article about the political deadlock that made it so that the interest rate on student loans would double from 3.4% to 6.8% on July 1. At that time, it seemed clear that members of Congress were unwilling to cooperate to get the job done and keep the rate from doubling. And that is indeed what happened when Congress failed to act before the deadline

Knowing that the rate hike was a heavy burden on students and families (but likely more concerned about alienating young voters), members of Congress went back to the drawing board in an effort to reach some sort of agreement that would soften the blow of the rate hike. Squabbling Republicans and Democrats were close to a compromise, but that derailed when it was calculated that the estimated cost of the plan over 10 years was $22 billion.

Right now, the rate hike that occurred on July 1 stands. Interest rates are a fixed 6.8% on student loans and that is indeed up from 3.4%. Congress, which seems to have little trouble bailing out banks and mega-corporations, is once again unable to reach agreement in solving the problem and there is no indication as to when or even if that will be resolved.

This stalemate clearly sends a message to students and families that the affordability of higher education is not a priority for politicians and that they are more concerned with short-term savings than with education and enrichment. It’s certainly easy to get angry about this (and rightly so), but Patricia Murphy makes an important point that there is a much-bigger problem encompassing affordability in her article “The Real College Crisis Isn't About Student Loan Rates.”

Not long ago, a college textbook was quite literally that – a physical book. As technology advances, the physical textbook is undergoing dramatic changes.

The landscape for incoming college students and their parents is constantly shifting. How students both consume and pay for their educational resources is evolving, as well. A few years ago, students would hit up their parents for sofas, tables, pots and pans, in addition to some cash for books. Today, students require iPads and laptops for digital integration in the classroom. As with any change, there are pros and cons to this movement.

The Bring Your Own Device trend for students has been growing over the past few years. Educators and universities have found that the curricula for these devices is also trending upwards. This, in turn, has overhauled the way textbooks are seen in school settings and how it figures into a more technological classroom.

Here's a look at three pieces of this new reality for students and their textbooks:


College has never been cheap, with textbooks accounting for a large chunk of expenses outside of tuition. The steadily surging costs of required course materials are dramatic. Most parents and students feel the damage to their wallets when purchasing books at the beginning of each semester, but many dismiss it as just part of the college package. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' consumer price index data, there has been an 812 percent rise in the price of textbooks and course materials since 1978, and costs are still rising every year.

It comes as no surprise that approximately one in three students elect not to purchase required textbooks because of their hefty price tags. This decision may help their bank accounts, but it can wreak havoc on academic performance. Cost has become a barrier to learning, and students have been frequently left with no choice but to pay the exorbitant fees or go without necessary materials. This is where digital textbooks and technology come in.


As many colleges seek to transition toward completely digitally-driven curricula, converting traditional textbooks into a digital format is becoming more commonplace. Some universities are going entirely digital, with requirements about devices varying from institution to institution. Florida Lynn University goes so far as to require freshmen to purchase an iPad Mini, while the Illinois Institute of Technology actually gives iPads to each of its freshman undergraduate students. With textbook costs ever rising, digital books and instruction via laptops and mobile devices simply makes economical sense.

The transition is not without its growing pains. Parents and students frequently object to the cost of equipment through which digital textbooks are delivered, complaining they are more expensive than it would be to merely purchase books. However, many colleges and bookstores offer lease-to-own programs, rentals and used laptops and devices, so even the most cash-strapped students can typically find a way to gain access to the necessary devices. Also, most libraries give students the ability to use their computers free of charge, so this opposition can be easily overcome.


Although the evolution – and revolution – of textbooks into a 21st century format holds numerous benefits, it is still a long road to total adoption. The U.S. Department of Education and the FCC believe so strongly in digital textbooks that they published a 67-page guide to help schools transfer away from physical books in the hopes that all students in America will use digital course materials in the coming five years. But while the government supports this side of the argument, a recent survey found that 88 percent of professors still favor (and require) traditional textbooks.

Students surprisingly appear to be more aligned with their instructors in this debate, with another study revealing that only 13 percent of college students would rather use digital textbooks than the physical books of old. It's important to note, however, that this number is rising. What it ultimately comes down to is familiarity. The more professors open up to digital textbooks and e-learning avenues, the more accustomed students will become, as well. As with any type of change, there is a learning curve and a temporary period of adjustment before the value makes itself known.

Regardless of the prevailing sentiments, digital textbooks are here to stay. Parents and students would be wise to research the best options, based on factors like price, specifications by professor, and personal learning preferences. There has never been a one-size-fits-all teaching and learning approach, and it's important to remember this. Technology is here to improve upon the status quo, and should be maximized whenever possible and practical. However, it is ultimately the student who will be doing the learning and therefore the it is the student who needs to decide if e-reading suits him or her best.

Up until about five years ago, college students accepted the inevitable: Along with tuition and room and board, they were going to have to come up with a few hundred dollars per semester for textbooks. It’s been a rising concern for parents and students, who are already burdened with some pretty exorbitant costs for college.

The cost of textbooks has increased faster than tuition, health care and housing prices, according to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). In fact, prices for college textbooks are up 812 percent in the past 30 years, whereas college tuition and fees have risen 559 percent in the same amount of time.

The National Association of Colleges Stores reports that the average college students pays around $650 a year on books. Some students can pay much more, if they need to buy brand-new, large books, which can run anywhere from $150 to $300 each.

Just like the housing market, this “textbook bubble” is becoming unsustainable. The costs are just too high, especially when compared with the low-priced and free alternatives starting to emerge.

Buy, Borrow, Rent

Students have been dogging the purchase of new books for years. Instead, they opt to buy used copies where available, or borrow or buy another student's book who took the class the prior semester. Some students split the cost between a group of classmates and buy only one book, and then copy what they need.

Some students prefer to cut the buy-a-book/sell-it-back routine and rent textbooks. Campus bookstores and sites such as Amazon.com and campusbooks.com help students rent used books, which they can return for a lower total cost than buying the book outright. In fact, according to Student Monitor, about 24 percent of students rented their texts in the spring of 2011, which was three times as many students who bought a digital textbook. In that same year, Google reported a 40 percent increase in searches for “cheap textbook rentals” and a 20 percent increase in searches for “textbook rentals,” insidehighered.com reported.

Why Haven’t Textbooks Gone All-Digital?

One alternative to the costly college textbook is the digital textbook. According to a Book Industry Study Group survey conducted last year, 88 percent of professors surveyed still prefer and assign printed textbooks, and around 32 percent make digital textbooks available as well. The data also says that more than half of students surveyed are more likely to bring a laptop to class than a printed book; however, these statistics are not turning into sales for digital textbooks.

Most students still prefer to use digital or paperless resources, but not necessarily purchase them. The idea is that digital content should be providing an additional educational element along with the text; however, most of the current digital texts are just PDF versions of the printed text. Because of this, many students simply pass along the PDFs to one another and use online backup to store the pages in the cloud for others’ use.

Interestingly, Google reported that searches for “kindle textbooks,” “nook textbooks,” and “ipad textbooks” are up, so even if students aren't buying yet, they are looking into the idea of digital textbooks. According to Akademos, there has been a 300 percent increase in ebook purchases over the past three years, but ebooks still comprise only 5 percent of overall textbook sales.

Students Seek Alternatives

The main obstacle to offering inexpensive digital textbooks to students is that many publishers do not allow for the resale of an ebook. Once a license has been sold, it cannot be resold, so secondary sales of ebooks is nonexistent.

Book rentals, used book sales and ebook are still out-performing new book sales, and it looks like that trend will continue.

The trend is clear: New textbooks are too expensive, and students are seeking alternatives. College students are tech-savvy and thrifty. They know if they look hard enough or get creative enough, they can get what they need without having to pay a big price tag. If textbook publishers do not figure out a way to decrease pricing, they will end up going the way of encyclopedias when Wikipedia dropped on the scene.

The end of the semester is near and you’ve got a ton on your mind — finals, packing up your room, summer plans, vacations, jobs and internships, the real world . . . We get it, you don’t have time or interest in reading any more than is already on your syllabi, so let’s roll with some straight talk.

There’s no way that any students will keep all of their books and by now, almost all students know that selling those unwanted books back to the campus bookstore will not garner much cash and may even make them feel hostile (the old “I paid $250 for this four months ago. You’re offering me $4 back for it now? Even in perfect condition?”) It sucks, but with a little planning and prep on your part, it doesn’t have to suck so much and you can actually come out in decent shape and headed into summer with 1) fewer books to pack and move, 2) some dough in your pocket. Here’s how:

Time your buybacks. Do not wait until after finals or graduation. Visit the CampusBooks.com selling tool to get your price quotes a few days before you’ll be done with the books. Read the buyer’s terms and see how many days you have to ship your book. Time it so that your quote remains valid for those few days when you still need your book and then make sure that you ship within deadline. Striking this balance will help you secure a higher price before buyers reach their quotas while you keep the book as long (but not longer) than you need it. And the deadline will give you some incentive to follow up.

Speaking of, follow up! Yes, you do have to do a little work beyond just locking in your buyback quote. You actually have to ship the book back. The good news is that it’s never been easier or cheaper to do so. Most buyers provide shipping reimbursement or even a prepaid envelope or label. Most also work with big names like UPS and USPS and FedEx so that you can just drop the package in a dropbox and be done. Remember that a buyback quote is a contract and you only get your cash when you follow the instructions within the time allotted.

Be flexible with payment. Some buyers offer PayPal, others mail checks, still others offer credit for future purchases. Read the terms before you agree and make sure that you provide all the information needed so that they can receive your book, check it in, and get you paid. Make it as easy as possible for them to give you money by following directions and also not shipping them garbage. Nobody wants your beer-stained textbook and no buyer will buy it in that sort of poor condition. If the buyer requires that you include supplements, INCLUDE SUPPLEMENTS. Don’t send back a dodgy book and then wonder why you didn’t get full (or any) value. Don’t select PayPal and not include your email and then wonder where your money is.

Make it easy on yourself and put your smartphone to work. If you have an iPhone or a Droid, grab the CampusBooks.com Mobile App for Smartphones and save yourself the hand-keying. Use our app and your phone’s camera    to scan the barcodes on your textbooks and find the highest buyback    values going. It’s insanely easy and totally on the go.

Take a gander at “Selling Back Books: A Few Simple Rules.” These rules and tips and reality checks will help you get through finals and buyback without losing your mind. Follow these guidelines and you will be well served to maximize your cash back and keep your sanity during a very-crazy end-of-term time. Good luck!