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How to Save Money on Textbooks

textbooks How to Save Money on TextbooksUsed Books

My personal College Experience with Textbooks:
We all know that buying textbooks can be very pricey, but there are many ways to save some extra cash when buying these books. The best thing to do is to first determine whether or not you really need the textbook(s) for your class. There are several ways that you can do this. The most obvious one is to ask your friends who have taken the class already. If you don’t have friend who have taken the class before, you can also check the comments on RateMyProfessor.com. Often times students leave comments that tell whether or not the textbook was necessary for the class. Its also a good idea to try to find out the titles of the books before class begins.

Buying Books for Cheap:
#1 Buy Used Online
Not only are used books a lot cheaper, but a lot of them have handy side notes and highlights from previous users. But if you don’t want that, you can still buy used, like new, or brand new books for still very cheap. If you choose this as your method of obtaining books, make sure that you purchase your texts as soon as possible since it takes time for shipping. If you are waiting for your shipment to come during the first couple of weeks of school, you can borrow the text from the library.

#2 Go to a Nearby Campus Business
Many business around campus usually sell their own textbooks which are much cheaper than the on campus bookstore. This is good if you do not want to wait for your book and do not mind paying a little extra money (compared to buying online).

#3 Other Students and Friends
Buy the book off of one of your friends for cheaper, if not keep your eyes on the look out for other students who are trying to sell their book. Most of the time you can come to an agreement on the price or make trade offers.

#4 Make Your Own Copy
Borrow the text from the library or a friend and look at your syllabus to find out which pages or chapters you need for class and go to a store and make copies. There are some businesses that already have copies of texts to sell to students. Some other printing stores will also do the printing for you. But if not, you can also print each page yourself.

Ways to Save Even MORE Money:
#1 Friends
Just ask your friend if you can borrow their book for the quarter/semester.

#2 E-Books
A lot of texts these days can be found online. Do some searches for books that you need to buy to see if there is an online copy that you can view or download for free.

#3 The Library
Simply borrow the book from the library whenever you need it. Your school’s library should carry a couple of copies of the text that you are using in class at the Reserve.

#4 Share the Book
You and a friend that you know who are both taking the same class can share books. However, this is difficult unless you see each other often.

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34 comments for “How to Save Money on Textbooks”

  1. I’m taking Bio 2 in the Winter…Is that it?

    Posted by Talk Binary | May 21, 2009, 3:55 pm
  2. It’s smart to actually check out the contents of the textbook in the university library before even bothering to shop around for a textbook. Almost I’d say 6-7 times out of 10 I haven’t needed a book at my university for classes (or only sporadically needed to check it out from the library)

    Posted by BIGSmoke | June 3, 2009, 5:41 am
  3. Search some online bookstores from internet. Some online bookstores offer 100% brand new college textbooks with 70% off discount. Wish useful for you.

    Posted by Andy | June 5, 2009, 12:15 am
  4. Sometimes you can actually get a book for free (or the cost to ship it) at a book swap site such as Swaptree, although it takes some forethought, probably before the semester begins, so that may not always be an option. In most cases I usually search book price comparison sites like Compare-Books for an edition prior to the one required for the course. In most cases, it does not matter one bit. Book price comparison sites will actually search across dozens of websites (including half.com, amazon, etc…) and return a list of the lowest prices. Also, having access to a department copier and a library copy of the book has turned out to be the absolute cheapest for me if you can get away with it :)

    Posted by Blake | June 5, 2009, 9:36 pm
  5. You can also try using http://www.bigwords.com They are a textbook search engine that searches all the online retailers (including those already mentioned here) and rental sites to find you the best prices. But you can also use them to search for resellers to sell your book to.

    Posted by J. Scott Allen | August 21, 2009, 3:38 pm
  6. You can also check out http://www.DealOz.com , DealOz compares 200 bookstore prices and free discount coupons too. Their coupons are valid and have saved over $500 on my textbooks.

    Posted by Frances | September 2, 2009, 4:53 am
  7. It’s true. Renting textbooks is so much cheaper than buying them. This way you can avoid worrying about whether you can make money on selling your books back if at all. If you can’t rent your textbook from the library for free, Chegg.com rents textbooks cheap and is offering free priority shipping until December 31, 2009 and 5% off rentals. Promo Code: CC107501 (5% off good until June 31, 2010)

    Posted by Alex | December 26, 2009, 3:34 pm
  8. One has to be really resourceful to cut back expenses.Based on my experience, buying books from students who no longer need it and wanted to sell. I saved a lot just by doing that.About tip #4 the problem with that is sometimes you miss out an important page.List is great,some i haven’t tried before.

    Posted by cornerstone university grand rapids | July 15, 2010, 8:20 pm
  9. It’s always helpful to check CL. Especially at the end of the semester when people finish taking a classes and are just trying to get rid of their books. Of course, this is given you know what you will be taking the next semester. It’s been of great use to me!

    Posted by Jerelyne | August 19, 2010, 1:46 pm
  10. Textbook prices are always ridiculously high, but as you mentioned there are ways to save. I have also run into many methods for saving when buying college textbooks and have even bought textbooks for others at very low prices. I think we just have to look around and basically think outside of the box.

    Posted by Sam | August 19, 2010, 6:29 pm
  11. Good suggestions. I usually purchased mine on Amazon for considerably cheaper than the campus bookstore. College is expensive enough without having to spend a fortune on textbooks.

    Posted by Angelica | October 14, 2010, 1:27 pm
  12. Another great way to save cash on books is to buy older editions. Although this doesn’t work well for, say, science texts, it does work for subjects such as English or foreign languages that really don’t change.

    Posted by Josh | October 18, 2010, 1:26 pm
  13. Solid tips here. I’ll never forget that in my first year I went out and bought all new textbooks…hurt the bank account pretty badly.

    Ever since then I’ve used a combination of the tricks here to drastically lower the cost. I think the total I spent in the rest of my undergrad years was less than in my first year.

    Solid article!

    Posted by Justin King | November 18, 2010, 1:32 pm
  14. The students I know tell me that there isn’t one “always best” company to buy or rent books from. They save the most, I’m told, when they compare prices on at least 3-4 websites.

    Posted by Dan | January 19, 2011, 8:52 pm
  15. There are also a lot fo textbooks available onlöine for free. I keep a list of them on my blog at http://homeschool-college.blogspot.com/2010/07/free-textbooks.html.

    Posted by cpascal | January 21, 2011, 8:33 am
  16. If you want to buy books. i would advise you to go online and search the prices for these books using services like http://www.thecollegetextbooks.net. It is better than going for standalone stores. As you can save on lot of money using them.

    Posted by Diane | February 24, 2011, 4:16 am
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  20. [...] me tell you, selling textbooks is not a fun or exciting way to spend your time. It’s a major hassle. After four semesters of [...]

    Posted by College edition: Selling your textbooks « Digital Deals | April 28, 2011, 10:55 pm
  21. I think buying online books is the next best thing to buy second sale books at campus right away. However selecting the best online book store is a challenge. Can u suggest a good online site with student discounts?

    Posted by Careerfreak | April 29, 2011, 11:57 pm
  22. Just browsing and located your website – thanks for the share.

    Posted by John Yslava | May 19, 2011, 1:44 pm
  23. nil

    Posted by ibrahim | June 10, 2011, 2:29 pm
  24. Great info. I’ll be sure to share it with our students.

    Posted by Jessica - Marines Education | June 16, 2011, 9:45 am
  25. The key to saving tons is getting the next to newest edition. What I mean, is if the book is on the seventh edition, buy the sixth. Usually you can get this book for like $2-$10 on Amazon and all the author has changed is something in the table on contents.

    Only once in undergrad did the teacher say jump to page 423 and my 423 was about 10 pages behind. Besides that, all gravy baby!

    Posted by Sam Jones | February 11, 2012, 2:24 pm
  26. I found it really helpful to find a person or two a year ahead of me in my same program and take the classes they were taking. Instead of buying the books from them after the semester we would split the cost when they bought it the first time. Often when you sell books back you get less than half of what you paid for, so it ended up working out for the both of us.

    Posted by Megan Jones | May 2, 2012, 8:06 pm
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