5 Ways to Save Money on Textbooks

Here’s a great guest post from our new friends over at Noodle! Enjoy!

If you’ve ever placed an order for your semester textbooks in the university bookstore and subsequently had a heart attack from the price, we’ve all been there. However with tuition prices on the rise, it’s easy to save money on the small thing like textbooks using these tactics.

1. New Textbooks

The quickest way to spend the most money is to buy all of your books from the school store. If you still want a new edition, check out Half, Amazon, or Barnes and Nobles. Or if you are looking for a website to compare prices across the internet, check out Bigwords.

Keep in mind, if the textbook is going to benefit you in the long term, it may be worth it to buy it new. This might not apply to your introductory level classes since you may never open the books or use them again. However in the specialized upper level courses of your major, those textbooks may be useful in your future career.

2. Buying Used

If you don’t mind getting an edition that is a little beat up, this is the way to go. These books are usually in good condition, and half the price. The easiest way to shop for these books is by their ISBN number. You’ll be able to get the ISBN from the bookstore, make sure to  compare prices to get the best deal. Pay attention to the quality of used book you’re buying, if you want to resell it in the future.

3. Renting

The key to renting is checking the terms of the rental, and keeping the books in good condition. Chegg is definitely the best recommendation when it comes to renting. They even plan a tree for every order you make. Some school bookstores now offer the option to rent from them at similar prices to Chegg. If you don’t want physical books, you can rent digitally through sites like CourseSmart.

4. Borrowing or Sharing

If you are lucky enough to have a friend in the class, sometimes you can buy a book with a friend. Check that the teacher’s style will allow for the book to be shared, otherwise disaster will hit when exam time comes along.

For general literature classes, consider borrowing the books from the library. When it comes to textbooks sometimes professors have second copies of their books, and can put one on hold in the library for students to use.  

5. Sell Back

Whether you buy new or used, always sell back your books! You could sell it to the bookstore, but chances are you won’t get nearly as much as you paid for it. Selling it online will take a small amount of time in consideration to reward. You can sell it directly through Alibris , Cash4Books, Chegg, or even Amazon, Barnes and Noble. However you do have the option to list it and sell it yourself.

Before you buy books of any kind, go the class, or reach out to the professor.  Most of the time you won’t need all the books professors have listed on the syllabus. Once you know what books you need, make sure to employ the tactics mentioned above. You’re sure to save.

About the author: Jessica Finger currently works for Noodle, whose mission is to help anyone make a more informed decision about their education. From K-12 to college search, from tutoring to courses, Noodle allows you to search thousands of opportunities, get advice from experts, and find the right path for you. Jessica is a graduate of Quinnipiac University, and outside of work likes reading, going to the theater, and exploring the Internet. Follow her on twitter: @jkfinger.

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