Textbook Saving Tips for College Students

Textbook Saving Tips for College Students
  • Opening Intro -

    On SayCampusLife.com, we have trained the spotlight on textbook prices from time to time over the years.

    It hasn’t escaped our attention that what students pay for textbooks can be a real budget-buster, on top of the steep tuition and fees college students already face.


One of our recommendations has been for students to simply rent their books and return them after the semester has ended. Companies such as Chegg.com, BookRental.com and TextBookRentals.com are serving students, enabling them to reduce their costs greatly. Further, Amazon and Barnes & Noble are also contributing their own plans to help students save money.

Here are a few other ways that you can save your textbooks this year:

1. Speak with your professor. Likely, your professor is aware of the burden you face when buying textbooks. If a class requires three or four titles, as might happen in literature or science, your expense could very well approach $500. Ask your professor if a certain title is not required for the class. Further, he may tell you that your college or nearby public library has these books on hand. Moreover, if you locate an older edition, it might be close enough to the revision to work. Discuss these options with your professor before you purchase your books.

2. Ask the college bookstore to price match. Some college bookstores are fighting back against online competitors by offering a price match guarantee. With your smartphone in your hand, shop the online stores while standing in the bookstore. Then, show the retailer the price that you would like them to match. In some cases the bookstore will match the price and offer you an additional discount of 5 to 10 percent.

3. Verify whether it is available online for free. If you’re fortunate to take a class with a professor who has written his own book and has uploaded it to the Internet for a free review, then your cost is nothing. Typically, you can review these books online and download them later for further exploration. Further, check out this article from Campus Technology that names 11 websites that host free books.

4. Share your book with another student. If you’re especially feeling the pinch and are unable to procure a deep discount, consider sharing your textbook with another student. Here, you will need to work with a partner you can trust, an individual who will give you the book when you need it and vice versa. Alert your professor to your scheme so that he knows why you and your textbook pal are sharing the same book in class.

5. Choose to do without a textbook. Is it possible to do without a textbook? Not if the professor requires students to read from it while in class. However, in some cases you may find that your professor simply references the book, while placing greater weight on his lectures. If that is the case, your note taking will be what helps you best, not the textbook.

Textbook Considerations

Certainly, having access to a textbook is advantageous. And if you can choose a less costly alternative, then you will save yourself some money.

Of course, if you still can’t find a deal on a textbook, you may need to get creative. Specifically, posting your needs on Facebook or other social media site may attract tips and ideas from other students, including an individual who may have dropped the class and simply wants to offload his costly textbook for a fair price.

See Also — Semester Over: Now Sell Your Textbooks


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Categories: College Budgeting