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.

College Courses – How to Succeed when You’re Struggling

College is a remarkable time in life. For many people it is a first taste of freedom, a chance to explore a new place and meet new people. The imagery of it all can almost make you forget what you’re really there for–to attend classes, get an education, and eventually a degree that will help you succeed in the working world. Occasionally you’ll find college courses that are more challenging than others. Sometimes this is in your major, but often it comes in core requirements such as science, math, or writing courses. You are required to take and pass these classes, so be sure you are prepared to seek out help when you need it.

college subjects

Tutoring for College Courses:

Most colleges and universities will have a tutoring program in place. Some of these are offered for free, others will charge a fee. Typically graduate students or upperclassmen will provide the tutoring sessions. If you are a student athlete or involved in other extra curricular programs, you may have tutoring available to you through those programs. Some college courses many students find challenging may offer tutoring specifically for that course, such as calculus or chemistry. Reach out to your professor, your adviser, or your program representatives to see what options may be available at your school.

Study Groups for College Courses:

You may not be the only person in your class who is struggling. Setting up a study group with your classmates can help you all keep up. While you may understand the first part of a chapter, your classmate may have a better understanding of the second part. Working together, you can work through problems you may struggle to tackle alone. This has the added advantage of sharing a common classroom experience, while a tutor may understand the material, if they weren’t in the class, they may not know what parts were presented poorly, or follow the examples your professor provided. Working with your classmates can help overcome these hurdles.

Writing Centers:

Writing is a huge challenge for some students. Utilizing the writing center can have an incredible impact on your grades. The staff of the writing center can help you with grammar, formatting, and ideas for writing. These are typically free programs staffed by English majors. You can take your assignment to them to plan what you will write, or take a rough draft to have someone work with you on spelling, grammar, and formatting. Whatever you feel your weakness is in writing, the writing center can help you work through it.


Your professor may be your best option for getting help in a college courses. They should have office hours listed on your course syllabus, or be available to make an appointment at a time that works for both of you. You can meet with your professors to go over concepts you’re struggling with, review a test or assignment, or talk about your progress in the class. Your professor is there to help you learn.

Prepare for meetings with your professors. Know what it is you’re struggling with or want to talk to them about. Review the course syllabus so you know their policies, and don’t try to harass them into doing special favors for you. You have to earn your grades through what you learn and how you apply that knowledge. Meeting with a professor should be about improving those areas, not begging for grade bumps or extra credit assignments.

Almost everyone will find some college courses more challenging than others. Knowing what help is available and how to seek it out can greatly improve your chance of success in those classes that don’t come easily to you. Don’t wait for the end of a semester to seek out help. Getting help early in a difficult subject will keep you from falling behind.

Suggested books to help you with your college courses:

College Study Skills: Becoming a Strategic Learner

How to Study in College

College Study: The Essential Ingredients (3rd Edition)