How to Get a Good Deal on Textbooks

College students typically spend between $1,200 and $1,300 on college textbooks and other required materials. That’s quite a bit of money, but there are many ways to decrease this expense by a significant amount.

10. Buy Older Editions. While buying older editions can be a great way to get a textbook at a cheaper price, check with your professor first to make sure he/she accepts the older edition. Sometimes an older editions doesn’t include all of the material that is in the new edition, or the pages don’t exactly lineup so it becomes harder to keep up. Although sometimes it can be a risky move, buying older editions can still be a great way to save less.

9. Split With A Friend. There are those certain books that you can’t get a better price on despite all the searching, so the best decision is finding a friend in the class and splitting the cost of it. Make sure to give each other enough time to adequately take notes and use the book as needed with assignments, papers, etc. Check before going halfsies that it’s not a book required everyday in class but more of as an extra support system to read on your own after class hours.

8. Opt For E-books. Many people find Ebooks to be a hassle because they are harder to flip back and forth and to search for certain topics. However, compromises can be made when there’s a big chunk of money at stake. Buying the electronic version can be a lot cheaper and is much more convenient when going to the library to study because it doesn’t involve carrying around just another heavy textbook. Most people tend to carry their laptops anyway, where all Ebooks are easily accessible.

7. Hit The Library. For those of you who are really looking to save money, university libraries often keep a few copies of frequently-assigned textbooks in stock. However, odds are you’re not the first student to think of the library as a source, so make sure to get there early enough to snag a book before the others. The only problem here is you can’t keep the book the whole semester, so make sure to take exceptionally good notes because once you return it, it may be difficult to get your hands on it again.

6. Go To A Class First. While it is great to be on your game by getting all of your textbooks and required materials before class even begins, sometimes it is more beneficial to get your materials after going to the first class. Although some syllabuses usually have a recommended book listed, some teachers will tell you it’s not necessary for you to buy it for the class.

5. Sell Old Books. Sometimes it is hard to find cheaper book options, so you have to settle on the original prices in the store. To soften that blow just a little bit, you can sell your textbooks to other students at the end of the year to get some of the money spent back. Although you most likely won’t get all of the money from the book back, the money you make will come just in time to buy the next semester’s books.

4. Keep Receipts. For those who don’t check with the professor first before buying a book and end up not needing the book for class, make sure to keep the receipts for a certain time period after purchasing them so you there’s no problem in returning it. Also, if you rent a book from a book store, many stores require you to have the receipt when returning it. If not, some will make you purchase the book, which will not be a fun day for you.  

3. Avoid the Campus Bookstore. While the campus bookstore may be the most convenient place to purchase textbooks, it typically is the most expensive. Even used textbooks from there tend to be more costly than elsewhere. You may need to pick up certain materials from your bookstore, such as packets printed and bound by a professor ahead of time for a specific class, but most of the time you can shop at second hand stores near campus for cheaper deals.

2. Buy Used. The market for used college textbooks is huge, as many students are trying to get rid of last semester’s textbook while others are looking to buy for the current semester. More than likely, especially on bigger campuses, there will be a student or two who has the textbook you need and is willing to sell it at a discounted price. You can also look online to find use books, including websites such as amazon and chegg and hundreds of other sites.  

1. Rent. While Amazon and Chegg as well as many other sites offer great deals to purchase books, they also offer great deals to rent as well. With one click of a button, online retailers will ship the book right to your door. When you are done with the book at the end of the semester, all you have to do is pack the book up and ship it back to the original address. Same deal goes for bookstores on and near campus where you can rent a book as long as you return it in good shape at the end of the semester.

Good deals on textbooks can be difficult to find but not impossible. Taking a little extra time out of your day at the beginning of each semester ultimately will be worth the money you’ll save.


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