Textbooks can be a surprisingly expensive part of college. After even one semester, you likely realize how costly they can be. On this page you will find seven tips that can help save real money on textbooks.
1. Many older books are free online
If you are taking a classics or literature class, be sure to check out Books Should Be Free. Not only do they link to thousands of free, public domain books which you can download, but you can also listen to many of the books for free.
2. Ask your friends
Especially if it is a required course, it is possible that one of your friends may have taken the same course last semester. Make sure that a newer edition of the textbook isn’t being used, and then work out a deal/trade with your friend.
3. Use social media
Don’t limit yourself to just asking friends in person or via text about old textbooks, use Facebook or Twitter to see if your extended circle of friends might have the textbooks you need. Also you can ask around to see if their are any forums or Facebook groups where students are posting their textbooks for sale.
4. Check the library
This works best if a textbook is only required for a certain part of class (most libraries won’t let you check a book out for more than a month, sometimes as short as a few hours), but if you are quick, it can be a good option.
There might be times that a textbook relates to your major and you may want to have it long term, but from students we talked to this is only about 1% of the time. Renting can save quite a bit of money. Your local textbook store may have this option, but we recommend looking online. Book Renter is a site we have used,and they can save you up to 80% off new textbook prices.
6. Talk to your professors
This isn’t always possible to do. You might feel uncomfortable waiting to get a textbook until you have had time to talk to them, but it can save you a ton of money. Some professors are not part of the textbook “money machine”, and will let you know that using older editions is acceptable. Older editions of textbooks often sell for 5-10% of what the current edition sells for ($10 vs $100). You can do a search for and buy older textbook editions on Amazon.
7. Buy used
Most college bookstores will sell you used books, but you can save quite a bit more money buying from Amazon. Not surprising, many used textbooks are often barely opened. Do pay attention to the description of the condition of the book, make sure it is the right edition and be aware that you may need to purchase book early from Amazon so they make it is time for your class.
Josh Davis previously was a bookseller, and bought and sold hundreds of textbooks. There are affiliate links in this post, but all the recommendations are made based on actual experience. He hopes you can use these tips to save money. @universifree readers provided a number of tips. Thanks to @Saylinu, @Simmy58, @Mgodsey2011, @larisrue, @DiamondCut1902, @heychay, @ndnbhar, @tashak_89 & @mahhhrissa.
Have a tip, add it in the comments.
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