For those of us who inevitably feel taken advantage of after buying textbooks, there are ways to avoid some of the agony, and save money.
Option No. 1? Rent textbooks online. Not only is it environmentally friendly, but it is fairly cheap. I'm particularly fond of Chegg (chegg.com), which I learned about two years ago and have used ever since. All you do is go to the website, search for the book you need, and you receive it in the mail within about a week. Once you're done with the book, Chegg will send you a shipping label. Take both to the local UPS, and you're done.
Chegg supports the environment in a very concrete way, too — for every book you rent, it plants a tree. I've supported 14 trees in just two years.
Of course, if you'd like to leave the whole lugging-books-around thing behind, Option No. 2 is to download the just-released free Kno app (kno.com) for your iPad. (It's currently in beta for the Web and Facebook.)
You'll have access to more than 100,000 textbooks for what Kno says is a 30 to 50 percent savings on what they would cost in stores. You won't be planting any trees, but you will be able to highlight text without remembering a pen, electronically "stickie-note" pages with reminders, and easily search for key phrases and words.