6 Non-Conventional Ways To Save Big On College Textbooks

Aside from tuition, paying for textbooks is one of the top expenses faced by college students. These days, it’s not uncommon for students to pay over $1,000 each semester on books alone!

It just doesn’t seem fair. After paying for tuition, there’s barely enough money left for a box of Ramen noodles, let alone $1,000 for textbooks!

Not to worry…I’ve got some good news for you. You do not have to pay full price for a new textbook at the campus bookstore.

Here are some other really great options:

1) Buy Used. Get to the bookstore early and see if they have the used versions of the textbooks you need. You can definitely save a ton of money by getting the used version over the brand spanking new one. You might even luck up and find a used version that has minimal writing and highlighting…bonus!

2) Check Online. There are several different websites that offer used textbooks for sale at reasonable prices. (My personal favorite is Amazon.) However, a simple Google search using the book title and edition number will give you a list of major online book resellers.

3) Rent Them. Did you know that renting textbooks can save you up to 75% of the cost of buying new textbooks? Renting textbooks is a great option! Some campus bookstores offer textbook rental services or you can try websites like Half.com. This relatively new option allows students to “rent” the textbook for a certain number of days.

4) Try E-Textbooks. A lot of textbooks are now available at a discounted price in digital format. If you pay for an e-textbook, you can get access to the textbook online for a specific amount of time. Some e-textbooks can even be downloaded to e-readers like your Kindle or Nook. The only drawback of e-textbooks at this time is the limited number of textbooks available…however I’m sure this will change soon.

5) Check It Out. Believe it or not, the local library might have the textbooks that you need for your classes. Once you know which textbooks you need, call the local library to see if they carry them. It can’t hurt to ask, right? And, the best part about checking books out of the library is that it’s absolutely FREE!

6) Don’t Buy. Huh?!? Are you telling me not to buy textbooks for my classes!?! Well, not exactly…I’m suggesting that you go to the first class before you buy the textbook. The professor might tell you that you don’t need to buy the latest edition of the textbook or better yet, your professor might tell you that you can get by with just using the PowerPoint slides and class handouts. Make sense now?

Can you think of any other ways to save money on textbooks? Leave me a comment below. I’d love to hear from you!

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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

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