Going to college is an amazing experience, but it is also an expensive one. Between tuition, housing, food and everything in between, saving money becomes vital. One of the most expensive purchases for a student is textbooks. Textbook prices are rising every year and their value diminishes rapidly with the release of new editions. However, we have some top college textbook resources to help you save money.
1. Rent From the Library
The best way to save on textbooks is to not buy them at all! Rent the book from the library and use it when you need it. When I was in college, I might open up a textbook only a handful of times, so it didn’t make sense to drop hundreds of dollars on something I rarely used. Check the campus library to see if the professor has reserved his or her book for students to rent. The downsides of renting are that you can’t highlight the books, and you might find situations before exams when the book is on loan to someone else.
2. Buy From a Student
If you decide to purchase the book, then consider buying it from a student who just completed the course. They have little to no need for it anymore and are more than happy to part with it at a fair price. Textbook buyback programs typically pay pennies on the dollar, so the students are willing to offer steep discounts because it’s more than they would make otherwise. Sites like Texts.com and EasyCollegeLiving.com offer marketplaces where students can buy and sell books.
3. Get It Used
For those times you can’t find a student selling the book you need, try to find the used version in average to good condition on sites like Half.com, Amazon and AbeBooks. Unless you plan on keeping the book after you finish the class, there’s no need to get a book in great or like-new condition. As an added bonus, Amazon will give students 6 months of Amazon Student Prime, which means free 2-day shipping on textbooks and other college essentials.
4. Go International
Another great way to save money is by purchasing the international edition of a book. I used to buy a lot of books off Ebay because they sold the international versions of books at 75% off the purchase price. The content is identical. The only thing is the covers will be different and the page numbers might not align perfectly. Other than that, you’re getting the same book at a much better price.
5. Rent Online
When you want to have the book but don’t want to deal with reselling it later, renting is a great option. Sites like Chegg and Bookrenter offer textbook rentals so you only pay for the book when you need it. Most rental sites pay for shipping both ways.
6. Enter the Digital Age
Carry all of your textbooks in the palm of your hand with digital textbooks. Download the digital version from sites like Amazon, CourseSmart, Ecampus and more. Load up your tablet and access any book you need from anywhere without worrying about lugging around a heavy backpack.. Some digital books can be purchased while others can be rented.
7. Be Friendly
Taking a class with a friend? Split the cost of your book with them to save money. And you’ll also get a study buddy in return. Just make sure you work out a book sharing arrangement, especially during crunch time.
8. Kick it Old School
It seems like every year or so, a “new edition” will come out for that textbook you have or need. These new editions make it so you can’t resell your textbook for a reasonable price, and you can’t find a lot of used books available. Most of the times, these new editions are so similar to the previous ones that you can try your luck with the older edition.
Before you shop: Make sure to sell your book back right after the course is finished. If you wait too long, a new edition might come out and your book will become worthless. The local student bookstores will typically buy your book back, but they tend to pay the lowest prices, so try one of the sites listed above or ask another student.