We all dread spending our hard-earned money on textbooks every semester. (Let’s not imagine the better things that money could be going towards…) These are some of the options to consider when buying textbooks, and our recommendations that will help you get your textbooks at a discounted price!
- Buy new: Not only are new textbooks more expensive than used books, but they lack the helpful notes that used books often come with. (I’ve found that used Philosophy books can help me decipher what I’m reading.) I wouldn’t recommend buying your textbook new unless you can’t find it used.
To cut your textbook cost in half, find a (reliable) friend in your class to share the textbook with!
- Buy online in advance: Buying your textbooks online allows you to save money, but they must be purchased in advance. After the first week, very few teachers will let you submit late assignments if your text hasn’t arrived yet. I start to look up textbooks a month prior to the start of classes; this allows me to buy the cheapest book that could take a month to arrive.
However, if you rent your textbooks, you might need to wait to order them so that the start date of your rental is closer to the beginning of the semester. Most rentals will start on the day the book is delivered; you don’t want to have to return it before the semester is over simply because you ordered the book too early.
This is a great option if you don’t want to stress about whether or not your textbooks will arrive by the beginning of the semester.
- Buy online at the start of the semester: Occasionally professors change the textbook requirement or tell you that they never use the textbook, and therefore you don’t need to purchase it. To save yourself the hassle of returning your book, you can wait until your teacher confirms that the textbook is required, and then order it online.
This option allows you to compare the online price to how much your school’s bookstore sells it for and know you’re getting a better deal!
To quickly and easily find cheap prices on your textbooks, I recommend CheapestTextbooks.com! Their site collects price information from multiple websites so that you can get your textbook for the cheapest price possible.
When you’re renting textbooks (especially if you’re using multiple sites), make sure you write down which textbook you rented from where and their return-by dates. Add their return-by dates to your calendar or planner so that you return them in time. Doing so will make it that much easier when it’s time to ship your textbooks back.
- Buy from friends: Instead of buying your textbooks online, find a friend who’s taken the class before and buy or borrow the book from them! Alternatively, take advantage of your school’s Facebook group to find sellers (most schools have a Facebook group for students to buy and sell textbooks amongst themselves). Stay tuned for a blog post about utilizing social media effectively at college!
- If you’re really short on money and don’t mind going to the library on a regular basis, borrowing your textbook(s) from a library can be a great option. Whether you check-out the book and take it with you, or if you hang out in the library to finish your assignments, this could save you a couple hundred dollars each semester.
We hope these tips help you cut your textbook costs! How do you save money on textbooks? Comment below!
– Sarah C.