Textbooks: How to Get them Without Breaking the Bank

College textbooks are expensive. Sometimes, you can spend nearly as much on textbooks as you spend on a semester’s tuition. However, there is a way to cut costs on your textbooks so you can afford to do things like eat, shower, and use electricity.

Buy Used

Buying used is your first defense against book price gouging. Find a used copy that is still in good condition. Don’t be afraid to buy a highlighted textbook, as the highlights and notes might help you study.

Avoid the Campus Bookstore

If you can, avoid buying your books from the campus bookstore. Generally, college bookstores increase the price severely even on used books.

Sometimes your professors will write their own textbook and sell it exclusively through the campus store. In that case, you can’t avoid it. Save your money accordingly.

Buddy Buying

If you have a friend taking one of the same courses as you are, it’s smart to split the cost of one book and share it. This method could lead to some studying conflicts, but it can also save you a lot of money. Make sure to communicate well, and be patient with each other.

Thriftbooks.com, Ebay, and Amazon

Thriftbooks.com, Ebay, and Amazon are three of the best sites any college student can use. Check the prices on your books at these three sites before you look anywhere else. You’d be shocked by how much money these three websites can save.

The Gutenberg Project

The Gutenberg Project is another website that will have you saving tons of cash. It is a site that has compiled every book in the public domain. You can download any of their books and read them for free. The Gutenberg Project is especially useful for Language Arts students as it has all of Shakespeare’s works and many other commonly studied texts. All you need is an e-reader, and you’re all set.

Puchase After Receiving the Syllabus 

Unfortunately, there are a lot of “required reading” books listed for your courses that you won’t need. It is smart to wait until you receive the syllabus before you purchase all the books required for a course. The only risk you run is needing the book on the first day. Watch your email because if this is the case, your professor will likely warn everyone.

You shouldn’t have to choose between eating for a month and buying a textbook. Shop smarter, save your money, and don’t be afraid to buy used copies. College is expensive enough. Do yourself a favor and put in a lot of time and effort into finding the best prices for all your textbooks.



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