College Textbooks: 7 Ways To Save Money
Just when you recover from tuition bill-induced hyperventilation you realize that you aren’t done spending money on college. You still need textbooks. Yes, those expensive, heavy things that I never read quite as thoroughly as I was supposed to.
When I was in school we had one choice regarding our books - new or used. Today you still have that choice, plus many more. With an increased set of options comes decreased price.
Textbooks don’t have to be expensive. They don’t have to be heavy anymore either, which is an added bonus.
Here are seven ways you can avoid spending a fortune on them:
Buy used books online. Once you know a book’s ISBN number you can easily find it on sites like Half.com and Amazon. You’ll likely save 50-90% if you buy books used online versus the prices you’ll find in the campus bookstore. Plus, you’ll be able to sell your books at the end of the semester to recoup a portion of your investment.
Rent textbooks. For books you know you won’t want to keep, renting a physical copy might make sense. Sites like CengageBrain.com, BookRenter.com and even Barnes & Noble offer textbook rental services. Your fees vary by rental duration – which you set at anywhere from 30 – 120 days.
Opt for e-Textbooks. Swap a backpack full of books for a single electronic device that contains everything you need in e-Textbook format. Barnes & Noble offers a million titles in e-Textbook format and Amazon has tens of thousands. Both retailers offer apps that allow e-Textbooks to be read on more than just a Nook or Kindle.
Price compare. With all these options I’m talking about, wouldn’t it be nice if someone did the work of searching to find the best price for you? BigWords.com does that for used books for purchase. RentScouter.com will help you find the best deals on textbook rentals.
Get free legal downloads. Classic books like Pride and Prejudice and Ulysses are beyond their copyright and legally available for public distribution. At Project Gutenberg (Gutenberg.org) you can download over 30,000 of these free e-books.
Borrow from the library. Most campus libraries carry copies of textbooks for popular courses. If you’re the first one to request it, you could use that copy almost all semester without paying a dime. Even if the library’s version is a few years older, the content should be similar enough to get you through.
Don’t buy everything on the syllabus. Just because your Political Science professor lists 17 books on the syllabus does not mean you need to run out and buy everything. Wait until the first day of class and hear which books the prof is going to focus on, then buy those.
How else are you saving money on textbooks and college-related expenses this year?