Do you remember visiting your local library as a kid? Or maybe the touring book fair that came to your elementary school library? As children, most of us got a lot of joy from reading and excitement in finding the next great book.

In college, some of your passion might subside because you’re reading denser, required material. You’re likely reading books for your literature classes, articles for your history classes, and journals for your science classes. This type of reading can be a drag.

But, it’s possible to bring that delight for reading and love for the public library back. Public libraries are still free and lending out books. It’s time to get a card to find better prices on schoolbooks and rediscover the joy of reading for fun.


Your local library isn’t just about paper books anymore. Most public libraries have joined the technological age and offer e-books and audiobooks that are free to rent. The best part? You don’t even have to go to the physical library to check them out. You can do so online!

This could be great for your fiction reading but also for your required college reading. You might be surprised just what books your local library has in stock.

Price Shopping

When you’re looking to buy textbooks, you want the best deal. CampusBooks has designed a way to help you out with that. When you use the price comparison tool on our website, you can compare the price of textbooks rented from your local public library with the best prices out there. Can you imagine the money you’d save by renting your textbooks for free from the local library?

We want to make sure that you get the best deal on textbooks. College is expensive enough, so you don’t want to spend more money than you have to.

Services Other Than Books

College is an adventure in learning “how to adult” for the first time. Part of becoming an adult means that there are tasks and errands you’ll need to take care of that you may not know how to.

Surprisingly, your public library might be just the resource you need. After all, it’s not just a repository for old, musty books. The local public library in your college town might also offer services such as notary, help with research, passport applications (taking a summer break trip out of the country?), information for filing taxes, resume evaluation, and help with technology or computers. The librarians will also be able to help you find these resources in the broader community if they aren’t offered by the library.

Archives Research

College students do a lot of research, especially when writing a thesis or capstone. You might find yourself in need of (gasp!) resources for your research that aren’t available online. Public libraries often have extensive hard-copy archives that contain everything from newspaper clippings to building plans to oral histories. You won’t know what’s there in the archives until you ask.

We hope that we revitalized your interest and desire to have a public library card. The public library is a wonderful resource for books to read for fun and for discounted or even free textbooks for college classes.

There’s three months of summer break ahead and plenty of time to travel for fun and for education and to make some of that travel international. Maybe you’ve never had a passport before or maybe you have and it’s expired. Either way, now is the time to get that document on file, up to date, and in hand.

Getting Your Passport

Applying for a passport usually takes about 6-8 weeks from start to finish. If you have this time or more before you leave on your trip, you have nothing to worry about.

  • Getting Your First Passport: You’ll need to apply in person at a local office or online. Many US Post Offices serve as these facilities and they can even take your regulation photo there.
  • Renewing an Expired/Expiring Passport: If your document has expired or it will expire within three to six months (depending on where you’re going) of your departure date, you need to renew it. You can renew by mail or online at the U.S. Department of State website. The online application process is simple and will walk you through the steps, making sure you’re eligible for online application at every step of the way.

Getting It Fast

In a hurry because your trip departs in fewer than six weeks? No worries, but you will have to get an expedited renewal. You can get your passport expedited online or at a passport office for an extra charge. Online, you’ll pay an extra $60 fee for expedited service.

In a rush but have time to do a mail renewal? Cool. You can also expedite the process by paying for overnight mail delivery. You can send your renewal forms in via overnight delivery and have them sent back similarly fast. Paying for overnight delivery doesn’t expedite the processing of your renewal, but it does expedite the mailing speed.

Getting It Really Fast

If your departure is fewer than three weeks away, you’ll need to visit a passport center to get your document in enough time. Search online for the nearest office, collect the necessary paperwork, and find out if you need an appointment and you’ll be well on your way to getting your passport as quickly as possible. Provided that you arrive with all documentation and a passport photo, you may be able to get your new ID within the week or possibly even the same day for a renewal.

Should there not be a local office near where you live, you can also call the National Passport Information Center 24 hours a day for help. They can answer any question you might have about documentation and international travel.


There are companies that claim to expedite the process, but most of these companies are not trustworthy to follow through with their promises. On top of that, they charge outrageous prices for their services. Beware!

If you find yourself in a need of expedited procurement or renewal, the government offers many resources to help you. Be sure to stay calm, ask questions politely, and follow directions as closely as possible. You’ll be on your way overseas before you know it.

Remember that even if you don’t have travel on the horizon, a passport is an invaluable form of ID to possess.

It’s easy to forget about self-care during finals week, but that doesn’t mean you should put it on hold. Taking care of yourself keeps you sane and it helps you stay energetic and focused enough to do well on your exams. Here are a few tips to follow.


We already know that physical activity reduces stress and anxiety, but it may do even more than that. A recent study found that people who exercised a few hours after learning new information were more likely to remember it than those who didn’t exercise. Try boosting your brain and make time to go for a walk, attend a fitness class, or play your favorite sport.

If you’re really short on time, you could also bring your notes to the gym and study while you’re on the elliptical machine or exercise bike. Need motivation? Find a workout buddy; it’s easier to get your butt in gear when someone else is counting on you.

Indulge Yourself

Look, you’re a human being — not a study machine. Whatever it is you’re dying to do, make time for it. Change out of those sweatpants and have an extra-long shower. Paint your toenails. Doodle in your sketchbook or talk on the phone with a friend. Heck, blast your music and dance around in your underwear if it’ll make you feel better. It’s important to do well on your exams, but it shouldn’t cost you your sanity.

Eat Properly

When you’re short on time, it’s tempting to just eat ramen noodles and call it a meal. It’s fine to do that sometimes, but you really should get in some healthy meals. Getting enough nutrients keeps your energy up and keeps your immune system strong. Let that slip too much, and you’re susceptible to colds and other viruses. Studying is horrible when you need to blow your nose every two minutes.

Ideally, you should cook a meal that includes vegetables. If that feels like too much work, pick up some healthy snacks. There are plenty of inexpensive, ready-to-eat foods such as apples, bananas, crackers and peanut butter, yogurt, or baby carrots and hummus.

Get Enough Sleep

This may seem like an impossible task, but it’s really important to get enough sleep. Many students don’t get enough shut-eye, which leads to decreased concentration, memory, and overall performance. Clearly, this doesn’t do much to help you when you’re trying to memorize several months’ worth of notes.

It’s better to get a full night of rest, but if that all-night cramming session is unavailable, you should try napping. Naps can’t compensate for inadequate sleep, but they’ll make you feel more alert. Keep your nap between 20 and 30 minutes, and you’ll wake up feeling refreshed. To boost your memory and creativity, try sleeping for 90 minutes; this is enough time to complete a full sleep cycle. Anything between 30 to 60 minutes, however, will make you feel worse.

Finals week is so hectic that you probably feel like all you do is study. Change that feeling by following at least one of these self-care tips. You’ll feel better, and you’ll probably remember your notes better too.

In Textbook Buyback: Getting the Most Money (Part 1), we covered basics such as comparison shopping for the highest buyback offers, reading the fine print, following textbook buyback rules and best practices, and avoiding the campus bookstore.

Now in Part 2, we’ll go deeper and show you how putting in a little more work can basically lead to incredibly cheap textbooks or books that actually make you money to buy, use, and sell. Think of it like the stock market and investing; it’s all about timing and buying low and selling high.

Bigger Bucks at Buyback: Here’s How It Works

You don’t have to be an Econ. major to understand supply and demand. Bottom line: the more available something is, the less valuable it is and thus, the cheaper it is to buy; the more scarce a resource, the more expensive. What happens at textbook buyback? Students form a long line to turn over the same books as everybody else in line and many students in many lines at many colleges. ALL AT THE SAME TIME. The market is flooded, which is why that clerk at the bookstore tells you that your book gets you $3 back or the bookstore isn’t even buying it.

A quick note here: there’s other stuff at work such as new editions coming out that replace existing editions, professors not knowing which books they will use the next semester thus leaving the bookstore not knowing which books to stock, etc. But let’s stick to what we know, namely that in December and May right after finals, students sell their books back and that creates a surplus, which devalues the textbooks.

And Here’s What You Can Do

Buy or rent textbooks?

What can you do about this? Well, you can’t control what other people do or what bookstores pay or when semesters end, but with a little knowledge, foresight, and patience, you can hang onto your books a little longer and likely sell them for more cash back when the market isn’t saturated with too many copies.

Step 1: Know when to buy textbooks and know when to rent textbooks. This was kind of a crapshoot until we came up with the Buy Vs. Rent SuperBot, which uses historical and predictive data to give you the total cost of ownership for any textbook. What’s total cost of ownership? That’s what it costs you to get the book and use it, whether that’s buying it and selling it back or renting it and returning it. Sometimes it’s cheaper to rent, sometimes it’s cheaper to buy and sell back, and now you can know and make smart money decisions rather than guess and take a costly hit.

Step 2: For books you rented, just get them back on time and in good condition. For books you bought and do not want to keep, sell them when they are the most in demand and most valuable, namely in late August and early January. Straight up: that is when buyback prices are the highest because the books are in the greatest demand (because it’s back to school time and buyers need your books so they can sell them to other students). Get it? Sell your textbooks when everyone else is buying them and you’ll get top dollar, sometimes enough so that the total cost of ownership was nothing (free textbooks!) or to make a little money.

Graduating from college is a huge milestone in a person’s life, but after the ceremony, what comes next? Planning for your financial future seems a daunting task when you’re unsure where you’re headed. Still, it’s important to start preparing a little so you’re not taken by surprise when unplanned events affect your finances.

Whether you’re thinking about saving to buy a home, to travel, or to put some money away for retirement, there are several things to think about. Before you feel overwhelmed, sit down and write out some financial goals and think of some ways you can achieve them realistically. Ask for advice from a parent or trusted family friend who has been in your shoes, then follow these tips on how to start planning.

Set Some Financial Goals

Write down what you want to achieve and research what it will take to get there. If you’re ready to start your career, move out on your own, buy a home, or take some time off to travel, you need goals and plans. Start small on your list of goals. For instance, if you’re looking to buy a home, give yourself a timeline in which to save money and begin looking for the right neighborhood. Remember not to be too hard on yourself. Life is full of changes and setbacks, so keep the financial goals flexible and realistic for now.

Start Saving Money

No matter what your goals are, it’s a good idea to start saving money now. Life is expensive and you’ll want to be prepared for whatever it throws at you. Get creative and think of little ways you can save cash that won’t affect your daily life too much; for instance, ask a coworker if they’re willing to take turns carpooling, take your lunch to work rather than eating out, and make sure your apartment or home is energy-efficient to save on your utility bills. You could also cut out cable TV since there are so many inexpensive choices these days for watching shows and movies.

Help Others Help You Save

See if your employer will take a certain amount of money out of your paycheck automatically to put toward a 401K plan; this way, saving a little every payday is much easier, and since it’s taken right out of your check, you won’t even miss it. If you’re a freelancer who gets a 1099, you’ll more than likely have to find your own plan and be responsible for setting aside some money each week on your own. You can also download an app for your bank onto your phone so you can keep track of the balance in your checking and savings account and transfer amounts as needed.

Manage Your Credit Wisely

You may think you already know how to take care of your credit but it’s very easy to let it spiral out of control when you’re a recent college grad. Paying off student loans, financing a car or home, and buying furniture for a new place can all run up a credit-card bill and keep you in debt. When possible, save up for big purchases and don’t be seduced by the discount offered on your purchase when you open up a new account or credit line. If you do have to use a card, pay off the balance as soon as possible to avoid paying high interest rates.

Planning for a sound financial future can be an overwhelming task, so start small and ask for help from friends and family when you feel like you’re in over your head.

Guest post by Lawrence Mager,