Book Smart

Here’s some good news you don’t hear very often: college could be getting a little cheaper this year.

As anyone who’s been to college knows, textbooks are ridiculously expensive, and used or discounted copies are hard to come by when you don’t know what’s required for the course. This year, however, students may have an easier time because of a new law that took effect July 1: the Higher Education Opportunity Act.

The law requires UNLV and CSN—and any other college receiving federal financial assistance—to publish information on the Internet about all textbooks and supplemental materials “to the maximum extent practicable.” So now, rather waiting until a course syllabus comes out and then buying texts at the bookstore, students can search for books online. Publishers are also required to supply professors with information about previous editions of each book, and a description of “substantial content revisions” between the previous and current version of the book. Schools are not required to include that information on their websites though, so students who want to find out if a previous edition will work for their class should ask their professor.

Armed with this information, students should be able to find used books on eBay or Amazon, or international editions (which can be a lot cheaper) via sites like

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