Welcome back to my back-to-college series! Today’s lesson is on saving money on textbooks.
Any college student can tell you how expensive textbooks are. They can also tell you how much they regret spending so much money on books they never even used. It’s not fun. I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on textbooks with everything else I was breaking the bank for, so I was on the look out for cheap textbooks.
My number one tip is to wait until you know for sure that you will use the textbook. I’ve spent hundreds of dollars of books that I never even opened. It’s painful. If you absolutely feel the need to get the books before classes start, check RateMyProfessor and see if anyone who has recently taken your class with that professor has said anything about not needing the textbook. Students will be quick to call a professor out and save their peers some money.
Don’t Settle For High Prices
When it’s finally time for you to buy/rent your books, don’t settle for prices that seem a little unfair. Never settle after only looking in one location either. I like to look at my campus bookstore first because I automattically assume that books will be more expensive there. But I want to have a number to start off with. So I’ll take pictures and notes of prices. Used books are often cheaper, so I always head straight for them.
After seeing the books in person, I like to look online at different sites to compare prices and find the best deal. If I’ve already started classes and need my books ASAP, I compare shipping prices and times along with the prices of the books.
Some great websites to check for your books are:
In most instances, looking online for textbooks can help you find books that are cheaper to buy than rent in your campus bookstore! I always suggest buying textbooks, unlike most students. It’s super helpful to be able to highlight and take notes in the book for me, and that’s not something you can do with rental books (even though I’ve done it a few times, oops).
If you’re one who can stand looking at a computer or tablet screen for longer periods of time, maybe try renting/buying the digital versions of your books! I had a lot of friends do that last year and they showed me all the cool features they had on their tablets that made digital textbooks super managable. The only difference that I found was that you have to stare at a screen. If you decide to give digital textbooks a try, be sure to invest in some good blue light glasses to protect your eyes while you’re studying!
Some textbooks come out with new editions every year and barely change anything. So if you’ve found earlier editions of the textbook you need for cheaper, don’t be afraid to reach out to your professor to see if that book would work instead. Professors understand that college is expensive and often times they will understand when your each out if you keep it professional.
Some schools have community Facebook pages where students come together for different reasons throughout the year. If you check these pages before the semester starts, students could be selling their textbooks for cheap in order to get rid of them!
Share with Friends/Classmates
If you’re in class(es) with a friend or a group of friends, look into splitting the cost and sharing the book if possible. Make sure your friends are reliable and wouldn’t ghost you if you ever need the book.
Those are my tips for saving money on textbooks! If you have any more, let me know in the comments! Let’s swap!