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Saving Money On Textbooks As A College Student

20 August 2010 2 Comments

Textbooks are one of the most expensive things college students buy every semester. Universities often get a cut of the profits that book companies make from selling books in the campus bookstore, so it’s a good idea to be wary of university book selling practices. If you don’t want to spend another few hundred dollars on your college textbooks this semester, here are some good tips for you to follow to get the best bang for your buck so that you can save your money for the many other college related expenses that are sure to pop up.

Buy Early

This first suggestion may be controversial as many people say that you should wait until class starts to see what your professors actually require, not what’s on their syllabus. But if you want to avoid the rush of students all looking to grab that same Calculus book as soon as classes start, try and beat the rush and get your books at least 3 or 4 weeks before the semester starts. While demand for these books is low, you can capitalize on getting great deals from stores that aren’t looking to price gouge that early.

Buy Online

This tip should be a no-brainer for most college aged kids trying to save some money on books. Buying online is by far the best way to get deals on textbooks. There is never any one go to spot for all of your textbook needs, but there are few places you should check out before you resort to buying the book from your campus store.

  • eBay: You’d be surprised how many people sell their old textbooks on ebay each semester. You can get great deals from people looking to just get rid of their books for cheap so they can move on with their lives and forget about the class.
  • Amazon: Amazon is normally the first place people check when used book shopping. Just like eBay, students are eager to get their books listed online so that they can sell them to get cash for the next round of texts the following semester.
  • BigWords.com: Sites like bigwords.com have capitalized on the idea that college students want to save money on books in any way they can. Head over to bigwords.com and simply type in the ISBN of the book you’re looking to get and it’ll tell you the absolute cheapest price for the book in question. Most of the time you’ll be able to get at least a 50-60% discount on new and used textbooks.


Another option for students not looking to purchase new books every semester is to rent the books you need. Renting is much cheaper than buying used or even buying online, so if you’re OK with returning your books to the store at the end of each semester, renting can save you some serious green. The only problem with renting is that many times you’ll have to be careful about not damaging the books too much. Don’t even think about writing on the pages or ripping them either. Renting has strict guidelines, but if you’re careful you can rent an entire semester’s worth of books for about $200.

Written by Nick, a frequent contributor to 20smoney


  • Guest said:

    I love using Chegg to rent texts every semester because I save money and they ship fast. When you order, use code CC123047 for a discount every time or $5 back when selling Chegg your used texts. Just put the code in and hit the "apply" button.

    The code does not expire so it can be used with every order. Feel free to share this with other starving students.

  • Heather said:

    I have sold my textbooks back to Mybookcart.com for money that I use to purchase textbooks for the next semester. They pay fast by check or PayPal. Shipping is free too, and they provide free tracking. http://www.mybookcart.com