Buying Books at Princeton
If this question isn’t on your mind just yet, it certainly will be in a few more months! Nothing says “new school year” quite like new books!
Fortunately, finding the course materials you’ll need is pretty straightforward – in most cases, faculty will include information about the books for their courses a couple of weeks before the term starts on the Registrar’s webpage. You can learn about the books for each course as you browse course offerings; once you’ve actually enrolled in a course you will find any book and course packet information in Blackboard. Although you eager beavers out there may be tempted, don’t order books before you’ve enrolled, because you may end up taking different courses than you expect. Some courses may use primarily online readings, or a course reading packet that you’ll buy separately, at the Pequod at 36 University Place.
Courses that require good old-fashioned books, however, will list their materials with Labyrinth, the university’s bookstore on Nassau Street. The great thing about Labyrinth is that students get 30% off all coursebooks, new or used, and the guaranteed buyback program means you can sell those books back to Labyrinth for additional savings at the end of the term. Labyrinth also offers a rental program for more expensive textbooks. The best part is that you can pay for all of these directly with your student account or PAW points (cash, check, or credit cards are also accepted) which makes it easy to pay for coursebooks directly from your financial aid package. You can order the books for your classes online through Blackboard, and then go pick them up within 24 hours (and often much faster.) And of course, if conversing with real, live humans appeals to you, then you can always go and rent or buy your books in person!
If a course hasn’t listed a book order with Labyrinth, you can always ask Labyrinth to obtain the reading list or find the books yourself through any online retailer. Copies of required books, as well as reading packets, will also be kept on reserve at Firestone Library, so you can access those materials on loan, if you prefer. Students frequently sell their used books directly to each other as one semester ends and another begins – so, you can also keep your eyes peeled if you’re looking for a particular volume.
Happy reading, Class of 2021!
Rebekah Massengill earned her PhD in sociology at Princeton in 2009, and has taught and advised students at both Princeton and Swarthmore College, teaching classes that focused on religion, culture, and economic sociology. Before becoming Associate Dean in 2016, she served as the Director of Studies at Mathey College.