Stack of textbooks

9 Ways to Save Money on Textbooks

Textbooks are one of the most expensive things that you will have to purchase in college. They cost an average of $1,200 annually! Imagine all the things you could buy instead of spending so much on textbooks. That is why I created this guide to saving money on textbooks!

Between 2002 and 2013, the average cost of textbooks skyrocketed over 80%. This crisis is beginning to affect student’s education! CNBC said that 65% of students didn’t even buy a textbook because it was way too expensive.

Almost 50% of students said they were not able to take as many classes because of the cost of textbooks. So how do I save money when buying the textbooks I need?

Ways to Save Money on Textbooks

  • Wait until the semester starts to buy your textbooks

    • Sometimes the professor will allow you to buy the previous version of the book.  Most times when a new version of a textbook comes out, the textbook company only changed a few words through the whole book. Ask your professor if it would be okay to buy an older version of the book.
    • The other reason to wait until the semester starts is to see if you know anyone in the class who may be willing to split the cost of the textbook with you. You can share the textbook to save a significant amount of money.
  • Check the syllabus

    • Some professors will put the syllabus online before the class starts. If the syllabus has the name of the textbook on it, starting Googling the textbook to see if any PDFs come up. This can be a way to get the textbook for free.
    • Some of the professors that I had would say that the textbook was optional.  These were my favorite because they would save me a lot of money. While not all professors say this, it is a possibility so it is worth checking.
  • Share With a Friend

    • Once the semester starts you will be able to see if you have any friends in your class.  This can be a great way to save that money on textbooks. See if they would be willing to share a textbook with you.  Split the rental price in half and save money on your textbook.
  • Check the Library

    • Before you buy a textbook, always check with the library to see if the textbook is available to rent whenever you need it. You never know if you will be able to get the textbook for free.
    • For those English classes that may require a typical book, you will likely be able to get it from the library! If the school library does not have it check the local library as well.
  • Buy or rent the eBook

    • There are times that the eBook can be cheaper than the physical book. If buying the eBook is cheaper than renting the physical book, do it!
    • The only problem with the eBook option is that you will not be able to sell it at the end of the semester as it will just expire.  Be careful of this! Look at the physical book’s price and then consider how much you could sell it for.
  • Don’t buy your textbook unless absolutely necessary

    • If you are able to rent the textbook, do it! Most professors won’t mind if you rent, because you will be getting the same material. Check out Amazon, Chegg, and BookByte to see if you are able to rent the textbooks from any of them.
    • Some rental textbooks will have a lot of highlighting and writing in them which makes the price significantly cheaper.  These can be the best textbooks to rent because of this fact as well as the idea that you will have some of the work done for you.
  • Use websites that compare the prices of textbooks

    • Use websites such as Slugbooks and Bookfinder to compare the cost of textbooks on different websites. These websites can save you upwards of $300 per semester! They allow you to see rental prices as well as purchase prices.
    • You could also use the Chrome extension, Honey, to see if there are any coupons available for your textbook.  Always double check all extensions like this because they can help you save that money.
  • See if you can use scholarship or grant money

    • Some scholarships or grants allow you to use the money that you get from them to cover all school expenses, while others say you can only use it for tuition.If you got a scholarship that allows you to buy textbooks always do it! It is free money for you. Still try to rent the textbook, because it is likely cheaper than buying it.
  • Check Open Textbook Network

    • Over 600 campuses are currently part of the Open Textbook Network which allows students to have free access to textbooks of all sorts. Students across America have saved $8.5 million by using this service to get their textbooks for free.

To Sum it Up…

Although textbooks do cost a lot of money, there are ways to save on them! Reading this guide should give you some ideas of how to save money on textbooks.

You should always wait until the semester starts to buy your textbook! You could share with a friend in your class, rent from the library, or use grant money or scholarships to pay for it!

If you have other ideas of how to save money on your textbooks, leave them in the comment section below.