Saving money on Textbooks 101


First week of class, and I’m seeing a lot of intense faces around campus. Some people are still scrambling last minute to get the books and supplies they need for college. I have been giving out some money saving advice around campus, and I thought I might blog about some of my tricks of the trade.

#1 Used Books- It’s no secret, wherever you buy the book you will save 50% buying it used. They tend to be in good to like new condition from reputable sellers. I bought most of mine from Amazon It’s easy to search and they list merchants with that book and choose the best price and/or reputation. Some are filled by Amazon and qualify for free supersaver shipping. Amazon was great to work with for a return when I changed my mind and they will buy back the books when you are done. I actually made a profit on one book last semester. (Shop around on buy backs- it is a supply and demand system- so prices differ from place to place and day to day. In fact that goes for the price of buying used books also.)

#2 Renting- There are several sites that rent textbooks. I usually use They had the best rental prices for most items and if you search google for a coupon code you can save an extra 5-10% of 2 or more rentals. They pay shipping cost both ways. They have different costs for shorter rental periods too! Renting can work out better than buying used because often publishers come out with a new edition of the book, so you will be stuck with the old one.

#3 Borrowing- The Library has a selection of Textbooks  at the circulation desk. If you leave your ID badge, you can borrow the book  while in the library. This is great if the book is not needed all the time, you are unsure about staying in the class, or you are on campus a lot, like me. Also, you could borrow from of share with a classmate or friend.

#4 Free E-book trial- When you need a textbook in a hurry, try websites that offer free trials of E-books!   I tried where you can read the first chapter or so of the book and copy-paste all the notes so I did not fall behind waiting for books in the mail. (Of course you might like it, and e-textbooks are less pricey than new books also!) Some even give you a week free trial, so if you read fast, you might not need to buy the book at all!

#5 Cash Back- Rebates with “Ebates”. I shop online through a link and I get paid up to 25% cash back for purchases made at pretty much any store you can imagine, including Amazon and Bookrenter. I have made over $600.00 shopping online over the past few years. You even get a ten dollar gift card to join, so check it out.

I hope these tips are helpful to each of you as you get into the swing of things this semester. With the tight budgets of college students every few bucks you save means another mocha latte at the cafe’.  Until next time, I hope to see you around campus. I’ll be the one with their nose in a discount Textbook…but I always have time to look up and say “Hi.” to a friend!

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