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How to Save Money on College Textbooks

save on college textbooks

The cost of college textbooks can weigh heavily on a student who has a plethora of other expenses to take care of. Luckily, there are countless ways that you can access college textbooks at a reduced cost to save money.

Budgeting for the Expense

The College Board estimates that students spend an average of and even more if they are a science or math major. On top of this, the cost of overall tuition rose by approximately 3.1% for the 2017-18 academic year and it is still rising according to the College Board’s annual report. Therefore, it’s beneficial to start budgeting for the expense of textbooks before college starts. Setting aside any amount of money on a regular schedule is a great place to start saving.

Renting vs. Buying

Renting college textbooks is often a cheaper alternative to buying them. The same college bookstores that offer overpriced textbooks often have an option for rentals. Keeping the textbook in proper condition can help you avoid any additional fines, which may make the rental higher than the cost of buying the textbook.  Online sites such as and allow you to rent college textbooks at comparatively low prices. Libraries may also loan out certain textbooks for a period of time. Renting a college textbook may be a viable option for you if you do not need it for a long period of time, you can keep it in pristine condition, and you are willing to abide by any return deadlines or policies.

Buying from Different Retailers vs. College Bookstore

Exploring alternative options to buying college textbooks from the college bookstore can save you a lot of money. Online sites such as Amazon, eBay, and Chegg often offer cheaper versions of the same textbooks. It is especially easy to find less costly textbooks online when using its ISBN number. ISBN numbers are specific to each college textbook so you can find any edition of a textbook that you need. Another option would be to buy an eBook version of your college textbook. No matter what, if you buy the textbook then it is yours to keep. Therefore, you can resell it to make back some of the money spent.

Buying Used

Buying used college textbooks comes with the advantage of saving more money, but it may not be right for everyone. Online sites may have options to buy textbooks used for lower prices. Many retailers may have different prices for a textbook based on the degree to which it was used. If it does not bother you to have minimal notes or damage to a textbook, then buying used college textbooks is a great and cost-conscious option. You can also find out if any friends or older students who have already taken the same classes are willing to sell their no-longer-needed textbooks for a reduced price. Chances are they do not want to hold on to a textbook they will never need again. They will happy to help a friend while making some money as well.

Work With Other Students To Save

Chances are all of the other students at your college are also looking to save money when getting college textbooks. One opportunity for mutual benefit would be buying one textbook and sharing it with roommates or friends taking the same class. First, consider consulting the professor on how frequently the textbook will be used. Then create a schedule to make sure that all members sharing the book have ample time to review the material. Another way to work with your peers would be to sell the textbooks to younger students who will be taking the same class as you.

On top of shelling out a pretty penny for tuition, textbooks can be another college cost that can break the bank. Considering alternate options rather than buying from the campus bookstore can help you save money.

For more personal finance tips, contact Leslie H. Tayne, Esq.and the budgeting professionals at the Tayne Law Group, P.C.

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