Shopping Tips and Strategies

Textbook Buying Tips For Frugal College Students

College can be very expensive. Avoid the campus bookstore and save on textbooks with these alternatives and textbook buying tips.
Textbook Buying Tips For Frugal College Students
Robert Hybki

There is little debate these days that college is getting more and more expensive. Not only is there tuition and housing bills to worry about, but buying textbooks can leave your wallet empty. The campus bookstore is one of the most expensive places to buy new and used textbooks, so I recommend avoiding the campus bookstore whenever possible. Here are some great alternatives to your campus bookstore and tips to help you save on college textbooks:

Buy Textbooks Online

There are tons of great textbook sites online to choose from. For the most part, they offer discounted textbooks, since they don’t have all that overhead to worry about that a campus bookstore might have. Choose retailers that offer multiple payment options, clearly define the shipping costs, and have good return policies. Browse auction sites too for additional savings. Also, be sure to look online for textbook coupon codes at these retailers in order to save on shipping or get additional discounts.
We Recommend: Textbooks.com & AbeBooks.com

Buy Used Textbooks

A slightly used textbook is a great alternative to buying the textbook new, plus it costs much less. There are a number of online retailers that specialize in selling used textbooks. Publishers are always updating the textbooks, so make sure if you buy a used version it is what the professor requires for class. Sometimes an older version requires a little more effort on your part, since the material may not be in the same order that your professor has outlined in the syllabus. Many used textbook websites allow you to sell your books back to them, which increases your net savings.
We Recommend: Amazon.com & eBay.com

Rent Textbooks

Textbook rentals are a great way to save some money. Many places allow you to rent the textbook for the semester and send the book back when the semester is over, which is good since you do not have to worry about selling your textbooks at the end of the semester. Digital textbook rentals are even less expensive and you don’t have to worry about returning the book, the retailer will simply end your access at the expiration date.
We Recommend: BetterWorldBooks.com & CampusBookRentals.com

Visit the Library

Many campus libraries offer textbooks on reserve. Your professor may contact the library to add their textbook to the reserve list, which offers you the opportunity to check out the textbook for a few hours when you need it. This is usually a great option for those looking to pay nothing out of pocket on textbooks. However, demand for the textbook and whether or not your professor requests their textbook be on reserve can potentially be a downfall of this option.

Students today no longer have to feel as if they are being “held hostage” by outrageous textbook prices. As you can see, there are plenty of options to choose from and depending on your budget, you can opt for the most appropriate way to obtain your textbooks.

Consider sharing ways you save on college textbooks in the comments section below.

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Shopping Tips and Strategies
Robert Hybki
@rhybki

While attending grad school in 2013, I decided to share my frugal tips, shopping advice and favorite deals with the world. This led to the creation of Shop Retail Deals, which is now Frugal Buzz.

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