How I Buy College Textbooks for Less

Tis the season to be shopping for textbooks for the upcoming college semester. While college life for the most part can be such a blast, the part of shopping for college textbooks totally is not. Well, at least for myself. College textbooks come at a hefty price tag, but there are most definitely ways to purchase your textbooks for the semester for less and maybe even make some cash off of some of your old one’s.

1 – Buy Used Instead of New

Unless the textbook that your professor requires for a specific course requires that you buy your textbooks brand new/a specific new edition of it or with a specific access code to them, then buy them used. Textbooks that are used are a whole lot cheaper than those that are new. Sites like Chegg and even Amazon have a variety of textbooks to offer to you at a steal of the cost. Typically, I purchase my textbooks from Amazon, as I have Amazon Prime and can get free shipping. From personal experience, I know that Amazon shows a selection of price ranges for each textbook with new versus used, etc. – sites like Chegg most likely do the same exact thing!

2 – Buy Online Versions Instead of Paperback

I have always been a sucker for paperback books – it just makes the fact of using a textbook a lot easier for myself. On the contrary, I do know that online versions of textbooks are a whole lot cheaper than the paperback versions. If you are willing to live with an online textbook and are not an oddball like myself, then definitely save your cash. You can always print out pages of the book if you truly desire, too!

3 – Ask Around!

Usually, you will become friends with those within your college major. If that is the case, then ask around within your circle of classmates to see if they have textbooks for the classes you are about to take that they already took and do not need anymore. Usually, they will sell you their book for a steal of the cost or lend it to you. Fun fact: one of my close friends who is also a Math major bought me Chinese takeout one night in return for renting out my Abstract Algebra textbook that costs upwards of $150+. Luckily, I had found that textbook at the right time on Amazon over the summer before I took the course for way under its original cost and brand-new. However, I felt really great to receive some free food and save my good friend a ton of cash!

4 – Join Facebook Groups!

Like Meredith College where I attend, several different schools have Buy-Sell-Trade groups on Facebook. These Facebook Groups are an EXCELLENT opportunity to both sell and buy your textbooks at a steal of the cost. The best part?! Shipping is usually NOT included, especially when you can meet up on campus (if applicable given the current situation with Covid-19) socially distanced to pick up the book. That way, you’ll save A TON of cash and perhaps make some yourself.

5 – Give Old Books To Those Who Need Them More Than Yourself

Times are tough right now with the current looming coronavirus pandemic. Although times are tough now, they will get better but some will still be struggling to make ends meet even after the pandemic’s effects are still with some of us. If there is a textbook that you will never use again in your life and you know someone who could not afford it any other way, then give it to them if you can and feel comfortable doing so. Trust me, you will make a difference in their life and it will bring a smile to both of your faces.

College textbooks are expensive. I remember when I sat down with my mother before my first semester at Meredith and we both panicked over the accumulating costs of my first semester books, especially in those introductory level courses that require those $200+ access codes along with the textbook. Trust me, it is scary to look at the roaring costs of college textbooks, but it does get better. Luckily, professors at my college have been great about trying to require the cheapest textbook that there is or none at all or even online resources that are free. You will be able to save some money this semester and your college semesters moving forward. Most importantly, an investment in college textbooks however significant it may be for a particular semester is an investment in yourself and your education.

XOXO – Katie

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