How to Find Cheap Textbooks and Save Money This Semester

cheap textbooks

If you’re a college student, then you’ve no doubt been dismayed about the prices of textbooks at some point. For many college courses, you can expect to spend hundreds of dollars, and that’s sometimes just on a single textbook.

The good news is that there are many methods you can use to get around these absurd prices. If you want to save money at school and get some cheap textbooks, then read on to find out how.

Older Editions

The first thing you should check out is whether or not there are any older editions of the textbook available. Often, you can find the previous year’s edition at much cheaper prices.

If you’re doing a subject that evolves quickly, there might be significant differences between the newest release of a book and the older versions. In other cases, however, there are barely any changes between a textbook from one year to the next. You might be able to get away with simply using an older textbook for a fraction of the price.

Pool Your Resources

In certain situations, it can make sense to pool your resources with another member of your class. For example, you might have a class with a friend, and you need to have 2 textbooks for the class. You might be able to just purchase 1 book per person and photocopy whatever is needed for the other person.

Sadly, this technique doesn’t always work. Many textbooks now feature codes to access online learning apps, so if you’re sharing a copy, you’ll only have one account.

Wait and See

You might’ve noticed that quite often, college classes require you to purchase a textbook and then, they use it very rarely throughout the course. It might be worth waiting to see how much the book is actually going to be used in class.

If it turns out the book is hardly ever required, you could probably get away with not buying it. Of course, this is a strategy that could potentially backfire if your school is strict about you needing to have the textbook on day one.

Ask the Professor

In some classes, you might find that the professor is just as upset over the textbook prices as the students are. Sometimes, professors will provide their students with cheaper alternatives, or they might even tell you not to bother buying the textbook at all.

When you first get your reading material, take a look at the books required. Sometimes, the professor may have been the author on the books you need to use.

This situation generally goes one of two ways. Either the professor is making some serious money on selling the textbook and will insist everyone buys it, or they may have the ability to provide everyone with free photocopies. It’s not uncommon for professors to help students save money on textbooks, so don’t rush into buying them before consulting with your professors.

Buy from Old Students

It’s no secret that the resale value on a lot of these textbooks is pretty dismal. Luckily, as a new student, you can use this to your advantage.

When old students want to sell their old textbooks, they’ll find that the university bookstore will offer only a fraction of their value for resales. This means you can easily offer a better price while saving a whole lot of money.

Sadly, the price often drops so much because a new version of the book comes out every year. In some cases, having the wrong edition might be a problem, but sometimes, you might be able to get away with it. If there’s any kind of online code involved, you might not be able to get away with buying used.

Check the Library

Sometimes, your university library might have copies of the exact textbooks you need. The trick is to check out the selection early.

These textbooks will be guaranteed to be checked out within the first few days of the semester, so you’ll need to get there early if you want a chance of getting your hands on them.

Consider Renting

Since college textbooks are priced so incredibly high, a lot of places that are prepared to rent textbooks rather than sell them have sprung up. Given how expensive these books are, it definitely makes sense to rent rather than buy them straight-up. This is especially true if you consider how little you’ll get back on these textbooks if you try and sell them back to the store.

Check Third-Party Sellers

Some of the best book deals often come from third-party sellers, such as those on Amazon. Often, you can find books on sale for just a cent at a time, excluding shipping. If you want to get the cheapest books possible, the first place you should look is third-party sellers on various platforms.

Get Cheap Textbooks

As you can see, there are plenty of methods available to you to acquire cheap textbooks. Unfortunately, for many classes, you might not be able to use any of these methods.

Sometimes, professors will require a certain book because they’re able to profit from its sale. If this is the case, there probably isn’t going to be a cheaper option for you to make use of. However, you can still make use of the other methods on this list, such as pooling resources or checking the library.

By being resourceful, you can cut your textbook spending and have more money to pay your rent and bills.

Ready to rent a textbook for your upcoming classes? Then take a look at the selection we have available for you.