4 Tips for Saving on the Cost of Textbooks

Textbooks can be a major expense for college students, with some books priced well over $300. Finding the best deal is important, especially for students on a budget. Read on for some tips on the best ways to save money on textbooks.

Rent

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Often offered by the on-campus bookstore and other community bookstores, as well as online services, textbook rentals cut the cost and reduce clutter; after the semester is over, students simply ship the book back to the company, and most companies will pay for return shipping. This is an especially good for students who don’t plan on reusing the textbook. Make sure if you rent that you don’t damage the book or mark it up though; you may be charged extra for damages. It’s also important to return it on time because many stores will charge you the full price of the book if you turn it in late. 

Check Online

Major online retailers have begun offering used textbooks online, often at greatly reduced rates. They’re a hub for a variety of different smaller book sellers, meaning competitive pricing gets you the lowest cost. New textbooks are often cheaper online as well, as the online retailers don’t have the same markup that bookstores do. Online retailers may also have older editions in stock that the school bookstore wouldn’t hold on to, and older editions tend to be cheaper. Be careful with those, though — sometimes new editions contain important information not included in the older versions. 

Ask the Library 

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School libraries often have a large stock of different textbooks — it’s definitely worth checking out in the beginning of the semester. If you library doesn’t have what you need, it may be possible to request them that they order it from another library. Keep in mind that many popular textbooks aren’t available for check out due to the demand for them, so you may have to go to the library to use them. Libraries are especially good resources for novels or other liberal arts texts since those are almost always available for extended checkout.

Download the eBook

Digital textbooks are a great way to cut down the cost of textbooks and lighten up your backpack. While some cost as much as hard copies, many companies are slashing the prices since the cost to produce is much lower. Consider looking for universities that offer free copies of textbooks online, or you can go through major retailers. Some even often e-book rentals, where the book stays on your device only for as long as the term is, and then the company restricts your access. Ebooks are also great for those who like marking up their texts — many different apps allow e-book citation and note taking, with no chance of getting charged for damages!

Help reduce the strain on your budget by considering these four tips. For the extra savvy buyers, considering using online comparison services like Campus Books to find the best deals!

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