Textbooks Don’t Have to Break the Bank

It’s bad enough that tuition costs are going through the roof, but to add insult to injury, textbook prices for college students are as high as ever. The good news is there are ways you can arrange to save money on textbooks as you prepare to enter the spring semester.

The key is thinking outside the campus bookstore box, where often your only option is to buy your books used to shave off some of the cost. Savvy students can go online and use a reputable textbook comparison website to find the best prices possible. Sites like AllBookStores.com and BigWords.com are popular go-to hotspots for typing in the title of a textbook and finding the lowest possible price. You can save a little or a lot by opting to search for your books online. Even a simple book search on Amazon.com could turn up prices lower than you’ll find in the student book store, particularly if you are willing to buy used.

Buying books online has its drawbacks, however, as doing so might put you in a pinch. Sometimes the seller takes longer than expected to ship you the book and you might end up starting classes before your books arrive in the mail. To avoid this risk, many students opt to rent their textbooks from their campus bookstores. Textbook rental options are popping up on college campuses across the nation and can help you pay a third to a half of the cost of a new textbook, as long as you don’t mind a few dog-eared pages, highlights and doodles in the margins.

If your college bookstores don’t have rental options, you can always visit online textbook rental resources. Two popular rental sites are Chegg.com and BookRenter.com. These options will often turn up in textbook comparison site listings as well.

Another thing you can do to save money on textbooks is share your book with someone from your class. Two students in a class can split the cost of the book, then pass the book back and forth, taking turns studying from it. As long as your classmate is reliable, this money-saving method works very well. You might get in a pinch in an open book test, though.

Finally, try checking out your textbook from your university’s library. Most campus libraries at least stock a few of the most popular textbooks, and if your library doesn’t carry it, try using an interlibrary loan program to get your textbook sent to you from another library. It’s worth a shot and can keep your textbook costs low.