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Cheap Textbooks: How to Save Money on College Textbooks

cheap textbooks

Everyone would prefer cheap textbooks.  Or at least cheaper textbooks. According to the recent estimates by the CollegeBoard.org, the average student is paying more than $1,200 per year on textbooks and supplies.

For those using the Post 9/11 GI Bill, you will receive $1,000 for books per year. This means that you may end up paying out-of-pocket costs for books.

But we have some ideas to help you to save money on textbooks.

Cheap Textbooks: How to Save Money on Textbooks

The costs of going to school includes tuition, fees, room and board, supplies, and of course textbooks.

These are the books you will need for each of your classes. You will be told which books you need so you can prepare ahead of time.

As you take your list to your school bookstore, you can become quickly overwhelmed with the prices.

There are however other options to help save you money on textbooks.

Campus Bookstore

First, don’t go to the campus bookstore! Going to the campus bookstore is a guaranteed way to spend more money.  While it may be convenient, you’re paying a premium for that convenience.

Use Comparison Sites

You can compare prices across a few different online sites through the following websites.

Often you can use the ISBN number to search for editions of textbooks to find where to get the best price.

In many cases, you can compare options to buy as well as rent.

Shop Around

You should try to look in other stores and websites to shop for cheap textbooks.

There could be some books you can only get from your college’s bookstore, but a lot of them can be a bit cheaper if you purchase them from other places.

Buy Used Textbooks

The main thing about textbooks is that they don’t have to be brand new.

Many students sell their books back to the college or even online, and you should be able to buy a good quality used textbook.

Your college bookstore might have used copies, and you can search online bookstores to see if you can find them there for a better rate.

Rent Textbooks

Renting textbooks has become a modern way to save money with your textbooks. You can rent them through companies such as

When renting textbooks, you will need to be careful about highlighting and marking up the textbook.

Make sure to check with the company about what their rules and regulations when renting textbooks.

Check Your Library

Libraries, both on campus and off could have textbooks you can borrow.

Check and see how long you can borrow them for and if this would be a good option for you.

Most university libraries will allow you to check out the books for a few hours at a time if need be but there might be other options for more extended periods of time.


There could be a chance that some or all of the textbooks you need can be found in ebook format. This can make things easier and even a little cheaper.

You can search for these ebooks online on websites such as Amazon, or TextbookRush.com. You can pull these books up on a computer, tablet, or your phone.

Find A Friend

If you know someone who is also taking the same class, you could talk with them about sharing the cost of the textbook and sharing the book during the semester.

You would need to make sure that each of you would be able to have access to the book when you need it for this option to work for you.

Older Editions

If you can find an older edition of the textbook that you know will still hold up, that can be an excellent way to save on cheap textbooks.

You don’t want to go too far back, but in a lot of cases, you don’t need to have the newest edition.

Speak with your professor about a particular edition if you are not sure about if that book will work.

One thing to keep in mind is that if the syllabus has page numbers to go by, they could differ by edition.

Sell Them

However much you spend on your books, make plans to sell them after the semester is over. That way you can make back some of your money. Most college and university bookstores will buy back your books.

If you have books from your major or ones that are very interesting to you, they can be worth keeping and putting on your bookshelf.

Here are some sites that may purchase your books from you.

Campus Bookstore – don’t forget your campus bookstore for selling back the book.  Sometimes, due to their higher mark-up, they can buy them from you at a higher price.

Financial Aid

With financial aid, you might receive money just for books. This is, of course, another way to keep your costs down.

Of course, everyone wants to save time and money and get cheap textbooks.  But with a little time and effort, you can save money.  More importantly, none of that money will be out of your own pocket!

For more discounts for students and military, go here.

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