The internet is full of college survival guides that teach you everything from how to settle into campus life to how to create simple meals in your dorm room. But many of these guides forget about the real survival tips that will help keep you safe on campus. With all the fun and frivolity of campus life, it’s easy to forget that you could put yourself at risk without following some common sense safety tips like the ones below.

Be a Buddy, Have a Buddy

The old saying that there is safety in numbers certainly holds true in college. Pair up with a buddy when you’re socializing in and around campus. If you’re about to make a poor choice, your buddy should be able to help you out and vice versa. You’re also less likely to be a victim of a crime if you’ve got a friend by your side.

You don’t need to be joined at the hip, but you should keep an eye on your buddy and know where he or she is throughout the night. If your buddy wants to leave an event with someone else, make sure it’s a smart choice. Never leave your buddy behind at a party, especially if he or she is drinking and may not make the right decisions later.

Avoid Pre-Mixed Drinks

If you are drinking, avoid pre-mixed drinks. Cups of pre-mixed spirits can contain the alcohol equivalent of more than two standard drinks. Pre-mixed spirits are often mixed with juices or sodas which makes them easier to drink more quickly, unlike beer and wine which people tend to sip. That means that when you choose pre-mixed drinks, you’re drinking more-potent drinks, often at a faster rate.

Alcohol in carbonated drinks is absorbed more quickly into the bloodstream, so these drinks will raise your blood alcohol level faster. If you can’t resist pre-mixed drinks, set yourself a hard limit and don’t exceed it. And remember, when at a party, NEVER drink anything out of a bucket, vat, trashcan, or other bulk-type vessel. These tend to be cheap fruity mixers and low-quality alcohol (and occasionally worse things like date-rape drugs) made for the purpose of getting as many people as drunk as can be for as cheap as possible. If you don’t know what’s in it (or you think you do but you’re a little skeptical), don’t put it in your body.

If You See Something, Say Something

“If You See Something, Say Something” isn’t just a good policy for national security. It can also help maintain a safe college campus. Look out for anything that seems unusual, like anyone forcibly entering a dorm room or vehicle, strangers loitering around campus buildings, people carrying weapons, or packages left unattended. If you see something that doesn’t seem quite right, alert your college police or campus security. Keep the campus police number in your phone so you can access it easily at any time.

Wear Reflective Vests When Riding at Night

Bicycles and skateboards make it easy to get around campus quickly. Helmets will keep you safe during the day, but when night falls, it’s smart to up your safety measures and wear a reflective vest. Admittedly these vests are never at the height of fashion, but they’ll help cars spot you and reduce your risk of getting hit.

College is meant to be enjoyed, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need to think about safety. Keep your wits about you and take steps like these to stay safe on campus.

We all know that textbooks aren’t getting any cheaper. Textbook prices have historically risen at over twice the rate of inflation and last year the average student spent over $1,000 annually on textbooks. Luckily, the Internet has unleashed a torrent of products and services to help you cut your textbook bill. From textbook rentals, to online price comparisons, to international editions, to textbook sharing, there have never been more options for you to save on textbooks.

Now, the latest technological marvel at your disposal will not only help you save on textbooks, but it can even be used to get your books for free. In fact, it’s even possible to make money on your textbooks! The reason has to do with simple economics: the law of supply and demand, and the nature of the textbook industry. In the financial world, this type of move is called arbitrage. Arbitrage is the simultaneous purchase and sale of something to profit from a price difference, and it exists due to market inefficiencies. In the textbook business, if you can time the purchase and sale of your textbooks correctly, you can take advantage of the big swings in price for both buying and selling books.

The tool that allows you to arbitrage your textbooks is the patent-pending CampusBooks Buy Vs Rent (BvR) SuperBot. Our tool takes into account historical pricing patterns for not only your particular book, but the industry as a whole, and uses that data to predict future sale prices of your book in both rush and buyback seasons. To use the BvR tool, simply search for your book on CampusBooks and the BvR tool will automatically present you with the suggested buy or rent option, based on the total cost of ownership of the book. The BvR tool also gives you customizable options based on your unique circumstances to give you a more accurate recommendation.

In order to maximize the BvR tool and get free textbooks, or even make money on your books, you need to be flexible in when you buy and sell your books. The best strategy is to buy and sell your textbooks off season due to the fact that there are tremendous seasonal price differences. For example, the traditional back-to-school months of August, September, and January are when most students purchase their books and prices are the highest. If you are able to purchase your books in the off season, especially in December and May, you can usually find significant discounts. On the flip side, if you can sell your used books during a rush month such as August or September, you can usually make much more money on your used textbooks than if you sold during a traditional buyback month of May or December.

Of course, this is all easier said than done. The secret is to find out beforehand what books you need and to buy early. If you know what class you are going to take, and you can contact your professor ahead of class to get your book over the summer, then you will be ahead of the game. If you then sell your book in January, chances are you will have spent very little on that book. Now, if you are unable to time your book buying and selling perfectly, you can still lower your costs by hanging on to your books until the next rush month and selling then, instead of selling during the end-of-semester buyback period when buyback prices are lowest. Of course, no matter when you sell your books, you always want to keep them in as good condition as possible, since buyback companies not only pay more for better condition books, but most won’t even purchase books in poor condition.

The caveat to the textbook arbitrage strategy is future editions of your book. If a new edition comes out, your book value will take a big hit so if you should sell your book as quickly as possible if you discover a new edition is being released. You could also use this knowledge to your advantage, and purchase a cheap older edition book. Most times the content of the textbook changes very little from one edition to the next, the main difference is that an older edition book won’t have the textbook access codes so if you need the access codes, an arbitrage strategy is your best bet.

We hope this blog post saves you some money on your books and you can take full advantage of the technology available to you on CampusBooks.com.

By now, you’ve probably noticed that every purchase you make these days comes with a pitch for an upgrade or some add-on that the seller swears that you need but that makes you wonder if it’s at all legit. Whether it’s the rust-proofing on a new car (H/T Seinfeld) or an extended tech-support subscription, nothing is just a product anymore; there are always extras and they always have fees… and publishers know this so they perpetuate the highly profitable model when it comes to college textbooks.

With academic publishing being a for-profit endeavor and textbook publishers being clever producers well versed in creating demand, you need to be a smart shopper and just as savvy when it comes to buying textbooks as you are when it comes to buying the latest smartphone. What used to be a simple choice between expensive new books and cheaper used books now involves factoring in whether it’s better to buy or rent textbooks, whether eBooks are worth a try, whether or not you can get by sharing textbooks (or not using the textbook at all), and of course, whether or not you need the mysterious access code.

So what’s the deal with textbook access codes and do you really need them? And if you really do need an access code, do you absolutely have to buy a brand-new book so as to guarantee that the code is still valid and you can get the material that is beyond the book?

In a nutshell: access codes are complicated and whether you need them or not is really on a case-by-case basis. So knowing that you need to evaluate your own particular needs (with regard to the text, the syllabus, your professor, etc.), there are still some general rules that will help you decide whether or not you need to pay extra to get a book that has a brand-new active access code.

First, Check Yourself and Ask “Do I Even Need the Textbook with the Access Code?”

  1. Look at your syllabus. If on your syllabus you see no indication of using the supplement or online components such as readings and quizzes or problem sets, you might not need that pricey little code and you might be able to get a much cheaper used book without the extras. Note: If you need to complete graded assignments online, you’re going to need a unique access code (more on those in a minute).
  2. Talk with your professor. Even if you don’t see supplemental stuff on the syllabus, talk with your professor and make sure that you will not need the online access components and that the in-textbook readings themselves will suffice. This is also a great way to meet your prof and indicate that you are on board and into doing all you need to do for the course.

If You Really Do Need a Textbook with an Access Code…

So you’ve checked and asked, and yeah, you do need the access code. What now? Are you condemned to buying a brand-new copy of the book and paying that crazy price that includes the access code? Maybe but maybe not.

It used to be that the answer was always yes and there was no way around that. If you needed access codes for textbooks, you had to buy what is called the bundle or the package. This included a new print textbook and the supplement that could only be used once. And publishers loved this monster that they had created because it meant that they eliminated the used textbook market and the textbook rentals options for entire books and even courses. Mo’ money for them, mo’ problems for students.

In short, it got messy. A lot of third-party sellers took used editions where the access codes were no longer valid and they sold those books not caring whether or not students needed the codes. Some sketchy third-party sellers even started sites where they promised that students could download textbook access codes (for free or at serious discounts). But those downloads were useless and they contained things like malware or they required that the user enter private data, which compromised the user’s identity, and scammers profited. Beware offers on YouTube and eBay for access codes!

Things are a little better now. Students voted with their wallets by simply not buying new books with expensive access codes or buying used copies and doing without the codes. And because money talks, publishers realized that they had alienated a lot of college students by creating these massively expensive bundles of textbooks plus access codes. Publishers got wise and came up with a compromise, one that we recommend for you if you really do need textbook access codes: Legal and legitimate downloads of just the access code and supplemental material directly (and safely and securely) from the publisher thus freeing you to buy or rent a money-saving used textbook. This sort of a la carte option isn’t available for all textbooks with supplements but leading publishers like Pearson, WebAsssign, McGraw-Hill, and MyMathLab are making it increasingly so.

Bottom line: Only get the access code if you absolutely must have it and you have verified that on your syllabus and from your professor. If you do have to purchase a textbook access code, do not immediately buy the new bundle but instead consider buying just the code from the publisher or portal as well as a copy of the used textbook or even renting it.

Is it better to buy or rent textbooks? If we had a nickel for every time we get asked that question . . . well, we’d have a lot more money than the college bookstore is offering to buy back that $200 math textbook you bought last semester.

In truth, the answer to “Should I buy or rent textbooks?” is complicated because there’s no single right answer that applies to all textbooks for all students (or even most books for most students). But that doesn’t mean that the question doesn’t have an answer, it just means that arriving at that answer happens on a textbook-by-textbook basis and it relies on a lot of data and knowledge.

After nearly twenty years saving college students money on textbooks and going through all of the changes and innovations with rental textbooks and eBooks and access codes and custom editions, CampusBooks.com has the answers and now we can tell you if it’s better to buy or rent textbooks. And we’re not talking generally, we’re talking specifically about you (you, the individual student) and whether or not it makes more sense to buy or rent the exact textbooks that you need.

Behold the Buy Vs. Rent SuperBot and never wonder if you’re paying too much for textbooks!

CampusBooks BvRIt’s so easy and so helpful and it takes the guesswork out of getting textbooks without getting ripped off. Just do what you already do: go to www.CampusBooks.com and enter the ISBN for the textbook you need.

When you get your price-comparison results and you see all of your options, look for the Buy Vs. Rent tool in the left column just under the book’s cover image. There you’ll see our recommendation for your best option. We literally do all sorts of complicated math behind the scenes in order to tell you (based on tons of data) whether it’s better to buy or rent a textbook.Buy Vs. Rent Details

And if you want more info or to customize the recommendation based on things like how well you take care of your books, hit the Find Out Why button. You can personalize your recommendation and even see trends about the textbook and its historic and estimated buyback values. And then you can make the best decision as to whether it’s better to buy textbooks or to rent them.

Enjoy the savings and the peace of mind.

By now, you already know that paying list price for books or buying them on campus is crazy and that you can save up to 90% on textbooks using CampusBooks.com. But here’s a little hint to help you save more: When you search for your books and run your textbook price comparison, look for the little blue cash icon in the Coupons column.

Textbook CouponsSee it? Sweet. Now mouse over that icon (or see the details below the listing if you’re using our app) and you’ll see exactly how much more you can save with textbook coupons.

All year we’ve got money-saving extras like free shipping and bonus buyback cash so that you get the most for your textbook bucks. But just in time for back-to-school 2016, we’ve loaded up CampusBooks.com with more (and better) textbook coupons than we’ve ever had before.

These coupons cover buying textbooks and renting textbooks and many of our coupons are CampusBooks exclusives, which means that you can’t find these add-on savings anywhere else. Seriously, an extra 10 seconds of your time could save you an extra 10% (or more) on your textbooks this fall. Save on, smart shoppers, save on.