Monday, January 3, 2011

Five ways to slice the price of your law school books

The spring semester is still two days away, and yet I am holed up in the law review office, pounding away at the 200-plus footnotes that must accompany a mandatory 25-page writing assignment. More on that later. For now, check out my Top Five Ways to Slice the Price of Your Law School Books. See everyone on Wednesday.

5. Rent 'Em if You Got 'Em. This is a relatively new concept at local bookstores, but it takes about 50 percent off the cover price of a new book. Just make sure you return the text at the end of the semester.
Uncle wants to buy your books

4. Buy Used. This seems like an obvious choice, but you need to arrive early to catch the used copies. Usually saves around 30 percent off the cover price. Alternatively, if you have your act together, you can buy used law school books on Amazon, eBay, etc.

3. Borrow. This is my method of choice for the spring. So far, I am borrowing a tax book from a friend who took the course in the fall, a Con Law book from a guy who decided not to take the second half of the course this spring, and (hopefully) a wills and estates textbook from a friend who graduated last year. Savings so far: about $280. PS -- I still have my Evidence book from last semester if anyone wants to use it free of charge. PPS -- I don't know about other law schools, but the willingness to share books among students is a nice reflection of the friendly and generous atmosphere at Louisville Law. You might think that students in a competitive environment would not be open to trading books crammed with personal notes and so forth. Not true here.

2. Share. It's like kindergarten all over again! I recommend this strategy only for supplements and rulebooks that you don't need every day, but that still cost in the neighborhood of $40-$60 each. Also works for hornbooks and flash cards.

1. Go to war. Seriously. Join the military and you can get the government to pay for all your books and tuition. OK, maybe not the most practical solution, but I'm running out of steam. At least make sure that you keep your receipts so you can deduct the cost of your books as educational expenses on your income taxes.


  1. I neglected to mention using older editions of textbooks. This only works in some situations, but it can be a hell of a money saver. Today, for example, I bought a 2010 version of a tax code book for $6 on Amazon. The 2011 version was $120 at the bookstore! Furthermore, it's a nice way to strike back at book publishers that charge outrageous prices for new editions that have been marginally updated, and still rely on 25-year-old law review articles to teach the law.

  2. which classes can you get away with using old editions? i'll be a 1L in a month and the books are outrageous. let me know!! thanks!!!!!!!!!