10 Tips on How to Save Money on Books for College

June 21st, 2013 by Jennifer Frankel

textbooksdv740057The new school year is right around the corner and we want to help you save money! One expense you will run into during the first few weeks of the new semester will be buying books for your classes. It’s amazing how quickly you can spend thousands of dollars just on books for one semester. If you pre-plan, think ahead, and do your research, this could end up saving you thousands of dollars. Check out these 10 tips on how to save money on books for college:

  1. Find out what books you need early. You are all geared up for the new school year, and you know what classes you are going to take. Check online and in your syllabus to see whether your professor has listed the required books for the semester. Be sure to check that the books listed are for your semester – and not the one prior – to make sure you don’t buy the wrong book or the wrong edition.
  2. Avoid your school’s bookstore. It’s common fact that the bookstore on campus does not offer the best available rate. While the convenience is appealing, often times there are other stores that will offer their books at a fraction of the cost.
  3. Buy used. Brand new books can be appealing, but the sticker price isn’t! If you buy a used book – whether online or in the store – you’ll find that books are much more affordable. And really, who cares? You are going to use it for one semester, and likely mark all over it. Many times you can find a version that looks new, but without the price of a new book.
  4. Buy online. If you have done your homework and already know what books you need, buying online may very well be the best option. Be sure to find out the complete costs that includes any shipping or handling costs. Websites like Amazon, eBay, Chegg, and AbeBooks can help you find the best deal. You can also find it comparison tools that help you find the cheapest textbooks.
  5. Don’t buy, rent. That’s right, now you can rent your textbooks instead of buying it. As with buying online, make sure that you check the shipping charges to make sure you are getting the best available prices. ValoreBooks, Barnes & Noble’s, and BookRenter are just a few resources that do this.
  6. What about the library? Depending on the classes you are taking, it’s not impossible to find the books you need at the local library. While they do have a due date and you’ll have to make sure they stay in mint condition, this can be a great place to turn to save some extra $$$.
  7. Free books online. That’s right, with the World Wide Web you can now find free books right online. Flat World Knowledge allows students to have access to a complete catalog for a low fee – or none at all.
  8. Reduce, reuse and recycle books. While many courses may want you to purchase the newest version, there may not be a whole lot of difference between the different editions. We recommend contacting your professor to see whether an older edition will work for your class.
  9. Sharing. This may not be the easiest thing to do, but you can form study groups and share the books you are using. Be aware that this may mean going out of your way to study as a group, but it also means splitting the costs.
  10. Sell books when you are done. When classes end, many students want to put their class out of their mind. With that, goes the textbooks. Other people like to keep their books as a reference or memento. Keep in mind that the best time to sell a book is right after your class ends to ensure that you don’t have an out-of-date edition as that will reduce the amount of money you’ll get for your books. You can sell them online, use Craigslist or social media to give them to a friend, or sell it back to stores in your town. Be sure to check around to get the best price.

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