how to save money on college textbooks

Going to college is an expensive process. Between the classes, room and board and any extra curricular activities you may decide to do, you will be spending thousands of dollars while getting your degree.

There are some ways to save money though.

One of the easiest ways to save money is to find alternatives to buying textbooks!

The average cost of a year’s worth of college textbooks is around $1,200. That’s a lot of money that can go towards extra classes or even the start of a pledge into a Greek house.

We’ll get you started on how to save money on college textbooks and hopefully, on the road to saving more money throughout your college career!

Renting Textbooks

First and foremost, it’s not a smart financial decision to buy a textbook new.

There are so many alternatives to buying a brand new book that you will then be saddled with after a class is through. One of the best alternatives to buying is renting.

Renting a textbook through a website, like Chegg, gives you a great financial alternative and the site even provides a box that you can send the book back in at the end of the semester, free of charge!

Rentals are offered through many campus bookstores as well. And businesses like Barnes and Noble also offer rental options that allow you to “check out” a book for a certain period of time. This is a great option for classes with lots of books, like lit or writing classes!

Buy Used

Some textbooks are used year after year on your campus. This gives you a chance to save a bit of money as well.

Buying a used book that may not be the best aesthetically can save you hundreds of dollars every semester. Many classes like the math and science classes you’ll have to take use the same books every semester, which means there’s always a few battered and highlighted copies sitting in your campus bookstore.

While used books may save you some money in the long run, they also don’t sell back for much. So be aware that while you may be able to get rid of it at the end of the semester, you may not get back as much as you paid for it.

Don’t Buy Right Away

Most colleges require professors to have a required textbook.

This can be annoying, especially for first year students who may not be entirely up to speed on the college textbook racket. While it’s not recommended for every class, waiting to buy a textbook until you can see your class’s syllabus won’t hurt.

Some professors just don’t do much with their required texts. Waiting to see how the first couple of classes go might save you the hassle of buying a book and then having to return it immediately.

Digital Publications

In this day and age, there are more and more alternatives to buying a physical textbook.

Common texts have started becoming digitized either by authors or other enterprising students. Always make sure you check online before buying a textbook. You may end up finding a much cheaper and easier accessed book on the internet.

Classes that require fictional works or historical documents may be the best digital option. Just make sure any book you buy is compatible with your e-reader or tablet.

Buy Older Editions

A lot of the time textbooks are reissued after a certain amount of years and the only things that have changed are the covers and a few illustrations.

This gives you the perfect opportunity to buy a cheaper, older edition of the same book. Fifty-eight percent of most new textbooks on the market are just republished older editions that have changed very little.

Before buying an older edition though it’s always a good idea to check the publication you’re supposed to be using. This allows you to make sure you won’t actually be buying a book that is drastically different than the required text.

Check the Library

Your campus library is going to be one of your favorite places to hang out and study. But it can also be a huge money saver for you in the long run.

College libraries may hold most or all of the textbooks you are going to need throughout your college career. Checking the books out for a few weeks at a time will allow you to keep up on required readings and you won’t have to spend hundreds of dollars!

Making sure you use all of the resources available to you, like your campus libraries will become an essential part of your time in college.

Talk With Classmates

Communication is key when you’re attending college.

And one of the best ways to keep up on your classes is talking to your classmates. But it can also save you some money on figuring out what books you need to buy. If you’re unsure about whether or not you’re going to need the required textbook for a class, hunt down someone you live with who may have taken the class.

This is one of the biggest benefits to living in a sorority or fraternity. You will be next door neighbors to upper classmen who may be on the same degree path as you. This gives you an inside look at just what a class may hold for you.

Sell Back Your Textbooks

At the end of the semester your desks will be covered with a pile of used and abused textbooks.

So what do you do with them now? Well, if you rented them, you’ll send them back. If you borrowed them from the library, you’ll drop them in the return slot on your way to an end of the semester party.

If you bought a book though, you’re going to have to find someone willing to buy it from you. Most times you’ll be able to sell it back to a campus bookstore. But chances are you’re not going to be making even a quarter back on what you paid for it.

Selling it on sites like Amazon, Sell Back Your Book or even eBay will give you the chance to make a little money on your books and get it out of the way for the next semester.

How to Save Money on College Textbooks

When it comes to saving money throughout your college career, saving money on textbooks can be the easiest.

With a little bit of research and communication, you’ll be able to save over a $1,000 each semester and you won’t have to deal with the hassle of going back and forth to your campus bookstore!

Don’t forget, when you join a Greek program, you’ll be living with a group of students who know the ropes better than anyone else. Don’t be afraid to talk to them if you’re unsure on how to save money on college textbooks.