Tips for Saving on Textbooks

A recent CNN Money article has confirmed that textbooks are huge rip-off, with prices nearly tripling from 1986 to 2004.  Not only are textbooks overpriced, but publishers will rearrange a few chapters and call it a new edition.  We have a few tips to help you save on textbooks.

Use an older edition

Even if the required textbook listed is the newest edition, ask your professor if an older edition will work. Sometimes instructors will provide updates for students if changes made from one addition to the next are small.

Shop online

You should NEVER buy textbooks from your campus bookstore.  Even if you need a new edition, you’ll find it cheaper at sites like and Amazon. The web makes price comparison easy, so use it to your advantage to find the cheapest books.

Share a textbook

If you won’t need your book every day, you can share it with a classmate.  Find another student that you can rely on to come to class every time or find someone that has the same class at a different time.

Buy from Fellow Students

If you can track down students that have recently taken the class, see if they still have the textbook. They might be willing to sell the book at a greater discount in return for the convenience of not having to sell online.

Rent a Book

Websites like Chegg and Bookrenter allow you to rent textbooks rather than buy something you’ll never open again after the class is over.

Check the library

College libraries usually carry copies of textbooks, so look to see if a copy of your textbook is available.  You might not be able to check the book out, but you can make copies of any pages you need to take home or to class.

Visit the publisher’s website

If you know you won’t be using the entire book for class, you might be able to buy and download individual chapters online.  It’s a great way to save paper and money.

Sell it Back Fast

Another way to save money is to sell back your book immediately after the semester is over.  Visit to find out where you’ll get the most for your used textbook. Don’t wait long because a new edition will be published, making your book worthless on the marketplace.

With the astronomical price of college tuition and related fees, you shouldn’t have to spend an addition $1,000 or more a year just to have textbooks. Shop around for deals and look for ways to avoid paying full price.

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