Cheap college textbooks may seem like an oxymoron but there are so many ways to save money on textbooks that it is almost a crime to pay the sticker price at a college bookstore. Too many students just want to get their books and be done with it, and in the end spend thousands of dollars a semester on books alone. Little do they know that with just a small amount of effort they could cut their out of pocket costs down to a third of what they would pay by using these ideas.
Used is the Way to Go
Yes, the look and smell of a book that has never been read is nice, but it is simply not worth the $50-$100 extra that it will cost you when it comes to textbooks. So when you are collecting up all of the books that you will need for a semester, make sure to look for a small sticker on the side of the book that says “USED”. That little stick will save you a bundle over 8+ semesters. If you don't see a used textbook out, you can always ask if they have one available.
It may be faster and easier to simply get all of your textbooks at your college's bookstore, but there is something to be said for shopping online for your textbooks. Sites like Amazon and Half.com are a great resource for saving even more on your textbooks. The world wide web has a way of bringing down prices because of competition. So when a used book costs $100 in your local bookstore it could cost $50 online after shipping because of all the books available. Just make sure to look to take into account shipping costs and the seller's feedback before you buy. You don't want to shell out more than you have to because of shipping costs or never receive your book because of a bad seller.
Can't find the book you need used? You can still get the textbooks you need at a steep discount by renting your textbooks. Most textbook rental companies give discounts of over 50% off the cost of purchasing a brand new textbook. Just be careful if you are the kind of student that likes to mark and highlight in their books. Many of these textbook rental companies charge fees for heavy markings on their textbooks.
Some college courses require you to purchase a textbook and then you never even use it. This is especially true of classes that are mostly based on the lecture. For these courses, consider purchasing an older addition of the same textbook. Most of the time the new addition is minimally changed so making the switch will not affect your studies. The best part is that the older additions come at a lower price; as much as 90% off! So keep this option in mind if you rarely crack your textbooks.
Get Your Money Back
When the semester is over it isn't just the information in your brain that you can dump. Get rid of those bulky textbooks too and get some of your money back. Chances are, once your class is over, you will never look at that boring textbook again. So why keep it around to collect dust and take up valuable space in your dorm room. Sell that book back to the bookstore or find a student who will need that same book next semester. Then, use that cash to help purchase your books next semester using these same money-saving tips.