Save Money On Textbooks Using These 3 Simple Strategies

One of the best pieces of advice I received prior to coming to college was to avoid buying textbooks from the school bookstore (if I could help it). It literally saved me hundreds of dollars. Textbooks are one of those expenses that you can’t bypass, but that doesn’t mean you have to empty your bank account.

Why is buying books from the bookstore not such a great idea? Simply because you’re likely to get much better deals looking somewhere else. Bookstores capitalize on the convenience they provide and sell texts to students at full price when the books are new, or at a slightly reduced price when the books are used.

Unless your class requires an online textbook or the absolute latest edition of a book, you really shouldn’t be buying your books at full price. If you shop smart and avoid the school bookstore you can save a lot of money on textbooks. Here’s how:

1) Wait. Your professors will provide you with a list of required texts at the beginning of the semester or quarter. Although you will be tempted to buy them all, right away, I recommend waiting until classes have started. Your professors may choose to modify the list right away. Or, if your texts are staggered, meaning you will be using them at different times during the year, I recommend waiting until it’s closer to the time to use them before making a purchase. Sometimes due to scheduling constraints, professors will choose to cut out some texts in the middle of the class.

2) Shop online. There  are loads of websites online catered to college students that offer textbooks for cheap. You can find new and used books or rent books for affordable prices. The only disadvantage is that you have to wait for the books to be shipped which could take anywhere from three  days to three weeks. Here are a few sites you can check out:

  • Half.com – An ebay company with books and other products for the lowest prices. You can look up your textbook ISBN number and find it right away. I’ve used this site several times, and found it to provide great service.
  • Chegg.com – This site is catered specifically to college students. You can look up your school,  find all the required texts for your classes, compare prices, and pick the best deal for you.
  • Amazon.com – Another site that I use often. The great thing about Amazon is that they usually have all editions of textbooks, so it’s easy to find what you need, and for a great price.

3) Buy books from other students. At the end of the semester or quarter, students are desperate to get rid of their books and get a portion of their money back, so you’re likely to get a good deal by purchasing a book from one of your peers. As long as you’re offering to pay more than what the bookstore would offer them (which tends to be a very low price), you don’t have to pay too much.

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Pamela Nonga

Pamela Nonga

Pamela Nonga is a second year at the University of California Davis double majoring in Political Science and Communications. When she’s not theorizing about the greater meaning behind her day-to-day experiences on her blog, you can find her on a run, enjoying a blend of the outdoors and her favorite tunes. Pamela loves to read, write, and travel, and hopes to work in the fields of Journalism and Media as a career.
Pamela Nonga

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