How to Save Money on College Textbooks

I often get asked how I save money on college textbooks. People may assume that I get my textbooks cheap since I know how to get a bunch of other things cheap/free, but that’s not really the case. There are plenty of ways to save money on your textbooks, but mainly I save money by using coupons, watching sales, etc. so I can afford the hundreds of dollars every year. Textbooks aren’t an expense I can skip. I can choose not to blow $100 at the mall on the weekend, but that $100 Chem textbook is a must. I save money in other areas so forking out those $$$$ isn’t too brutal twice a year.

Here are some ways that I save money on my textbooks:

  1. Buy Used (If it’s cheaper). Everyone knows buying used it cheaper, there’s nothing wrong with it. Don’t ever buy a book new unless you have to. Look around, because you’ll find that book used somewhere and it will be cheaper than buying it new! BUT do not always follow this rule. The majority of the time, the textbook I need to cheaper new on Amazon than used anywhere else… crazy.
  2. Buy the e-Book. Before buying that hard cover book, check to see if Amazon or any other online book seller has the book available to be downloaded. With all this new technology e-books are so much cheaper. I always have my laptop, iTouch, or phone, so pulling up a textbook is not a problem. Some people prefer the actual book, so it’s a personal choice. You cannot re-sell an e-book though.
  3. Use Amazon. I love Amazon. My 1-year of Free Amazon Prime for being a student expired last year, so I”d paid to renew. You can get almost any book you need shipped in two days. Amazon’s prices are not bad and you can also buy used from them. But why do I like to buy all my books on Amazon? GIFT CARDS! There are a million ways to earn Amazon Gift cards, my favorite of course being Swagbucks and SuperPoints. Every gift card I earn goes towards a text book. (Or a lab coat, or googles, etc.)
  4. Rent your books. Renting your books is always an option. I’ve never rented a book (except for the freebie rental from Neebo), but it’s certainly something to look into. The book store at my school allows you to rent, plus there’s also and you can view Amazon’s rental site here. You’ll want to look at how much it costs to rent versus buying used then reselling. Also, when trying to resell, look for a store that allows you to put your books on consignment. You can usually get more money for your books that way, because the stores won’t pay as much for it.
  5. Compare Prices. I compare prices with everything I buy, and it’s most frustrating with textbooks. I hate it. A lot of the time, I’m willing to buy it from Amazon because it’s easy and I can use my gift cards. You can try using to compare prices as well.
  6. Sell them back! Don’t forget to sell your books back when you’re done with them. And SAVE that $$$ for next semester’s books. Using CampusBooks.comAmazon, Chegg, Neebo, and you can make some money for your old books. Check your local book stores as well, and see if they offer the consignment system as I mentioned above. Always check around with friends/classmates to see if anyone needs the book for next semester. You can sell it to them or even trade if they have a book you need.
There are plenty of ways to save money on your textbooks and there isn’t one correct way. My best advice, is to save money in other areas of shopping so you can afford the yucky prices of textbooks and use Amazon gift cards to your advantage. I’m no expert, this is just my friendly advice.