It's a new year and a new college semester. That could mean spending big bucks on books. But here's an idea worthy of a little studying: free textbooks.
College is all about studying and, for more and more students, studying how to make ends meet. According to the Government Accountability Office, the cost of supplies and books can approach $1,000 per student per semester. That can add up to 25% of tuition depending on the school.
But there are at least three places where you might find what you need for nothing.
Idea 1: Web sites like Project Gutenberg, Bartleby, and Googlebooks offer older books no longer under copyright. A perfect place to get classic literature.
Idea 2: Free online textbooks. Check Connexions, the Open Educational Resources Consortium and Flatworld Knowledge. There aren't many textbooks here yet, but check back: this is a building trend.
Idea 3: Check swapping and freebie websites: Textbook Revolt, Bookins.com and Swaptree are good candidates. And Freecycle and Craig's list has all kinds of free stuff.
Bonus Idea: You might ask your professor -- very nicely, that is -- if he or she has an extra copy of that textbook he or she can lend you, just for the semester.