Home Tip of the Day When Buying a Used Book is Cheaper Than an Interlibrary Loan

When Buying a Used Book is Cheaper Than an Interlibrary Loan

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The interlibrary loan system (ILL) is phenomenal. Students in the smallest of towns with the tiniest of libraries can gain access to some of the rarest and most expensive books in just a matter of weeks. Many online schools offer the service free to their students, costing the student only the return shipping, even for soldiers stationed on the other side of the world.

However, return shipping can range from $2.65 to $8.00 depending on the destination and size of the book. This cost essentially becomes a rental fee. With that in mind, if the student has the space, it is worth looking into the cost of buying a used copy.  Just because a book is inaccessible does not mean it is expensive. In addition, paying $8.00 to purchase your own copy will give you more options down the road in case you wanted to refer to it again, trade it, give it as a gift, or sell it.

When searching for books, Amazon is where most people start, but Bookfinder will let you search across multiple book websites. A good rule of thumb is that if you can buy it for less than $10, then buying is probably the better option.

Here is a search for Andrew Fisher’s William Wallace (1986). While your local library may not have a copy, you can purchase one for just $4.50, which includes shipping.

Before you jump to do an interlibrary loan, check out the used pricing of the book. It could be a cheap way to expand your personal library.

By Scott Manning
Online Learning Tips, Student Contributor

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