Between tuition and dorm fees, college expenses can add up quickly. The cost of expensive college textbooks only adds to each semester’s expense, and on-campus bookstores are notoriously overpriced and under-stocked. We want to help the students in your family find textbooks at the lowest prices, so we’ve put together a list of the best places online to buy, exchange, rent, and sell textbooks!
Learn how to save even more money at school with our financial tips for college students, creative dorm room ideas, and list of dorm room essentials! We’ve also got a huge list of back to school sales, plus some of the best back to school deals and a list of state tax-free weekends for 2015 that are sure to save you even more money.
Where to rent textbooks
Most textbooks are only needed for one class, so renting textbooks online is a great way to save money. By renting for the semester, you’ll save a substantial amount of money and you won’t have to worry about re-selling your book after your class is finished!
Barnes and Noble, Campus Book Rentals, Chegg, BookRenter, Amazon, and eCampus are a few fantastic websites where you can rent textbooks at affordable prices. Many of these websites also offer e-textbook rentals, where you’ll gain access to the textbook on your electronic devices for the length of your class. Renting textbooks is the simplest and most economical way to access your textbooks each semester.
Where to buy textbooks
If renting your textbook isn’t an option, there’s a variety of online retailers that can help you save money. Buying your textbooks is a good option if you’ll need access to the book for an extended period of time, or if you’ll need to physically alter the pages with highlighting, notes, or class activities.
The easiest way to save money on online textbooks is to choose used copies. Half.com and Barnes and Noble have an extensive selection of used textbooks that are in excellent to extremely used condition, and you can also find great prices on used books at Amazon, Better World Books, Chegg, and eCampus for optimal savings.
If you’d like to purchase the book but don’t need access to a physical copy, consider purchasing a digital version of your textbook instead. E-textbooks can be purchased through Chegg, eCampus, and Amazon E-Textbooks. Amazon’s E-Textbooks offers X-Ray (definitions, extra information, and related pages in the textbook), Notebook (portions of the textbook you highlighted, notes, and bookmarks), and Flashcards to help you get the most out of your e-textbook. Plus, you can access any Amazon E-Textbook on the Kindle app from all of your devices.
Where to sell textbooks
Once you’re finished with your textbooks, it’s extremely easy to re-sell them online. On average, you’ll earn substantially more selling your books online than if you traded them in at the on-campus book store.
Half.com, Chegg, Amazon, eCampus, and Better World Books are four great places to easily sell back your textbooks for a rate based on the condition of the book and demand for the title. Barnes and Noble will also purchase your used textbooks, and even offers free shipping so you don’t have to worry about the cost of sending them in.
In addition to buying and selling textbooks, Better World Books promises to match every purchase from their website with a donation to promote worldwide literacy. You can also choose to donate your books to their website if you’d like to participate in their global mission!
Where to exchange textbooks
If listing your textbook online and shipping it off to its buyer seems a little time consuming, consider exchanging your textbooks with other students.
Student2Student matches you with other students on your school’s campus and arranges for you to exchange textbooks in person. This service is beneficial to you and your fellow students. You get to skip the pain of selling and shipping online, and they’ll get a great deal on a used textbook!
Don’t forget to check your school’s online forums for textbook requests and always share the books you have to sell or exchange on your social media platforms for optimal exposure.
Other ways to save money on textbooks
If you’re on a tight budget, there are several ways to creatively gain access to textbooks for little to no money. Most on-campus libraries will offer a limited selection of textbooks; however, each textbook can only be rented for a short period of time. You can also consider sharing textbooks with friends in your class or study groups for optimal savings.