6 Ways to Save on Textbooks


David Bakke is a writer for Money Crashers Personal Finance, where he shares tips for how students and parents can save money and reduce the costs associated with attending college.

The cost of college has skyrocketed, which makes saving anywhere you can, including on textbooks, a vital strategy in avoiding massive student loan debt. In fact, the statistics on the cost of textbooks are startling. According to the Student Public Interest Research Groups, textbook prices increased by almost 25% between 2007 and 2011, and according to the Government Accounting Office, textbooks alone cost close to one-fourth of the price of tuition at state colleges and a whopping 72% of tuition at community colleges. Fortunately, you can save a lot of money on college textbooks†- as long as you take the time to research and explore your options.

1. Avoid the Campus Bookstore

Generally speaking, you’ll want to avoid the campus bookstore entirely. This is easily where you’ll pay the most for textbooks. It †may be convenient, but unless the store resells used textbooks, the prices are simply to steep to justify – no matter how much time or effort you can save.

2. Rent Textbooks

Renting is a great option if you don’t need to make notes in the margins and will treat your books with care. You can save substantially off the cover price, and don’t have to worry about unloading your books at semester’s end. Rent textbooks online. If you decide you want to keep a rental from them, purchasing is always an option.

3. Buy eBooks

There are plenty of websites offering eBooks for college courses, such as Ebook Ave and Kno. As long as you don’t need the feel of paper against your fingers, this is a great route, especially since many reading devices offer the ability to make notes. Plus, a slew of eBooks on a reading device will be a lot easier to haul around than a slew of hefty textbooks weighing down your backpack.

4. Check Online for Free Textbooks

There are even a few websites that offer virtual textbooks for free. Your options may be limited here as this niche has yet to gain a foothold. One promising possibility for your textbook needs is the website Flat World Knowledge. Always check for a free version before you check anywhere else.

5. Use Social Media

You probably have friends that are college students, so post your textbook needs as soon as you know them. You may be able to find one or more textbooks without paying a fortune, or you may be able to trade for them. If you have textbooks available from previous years, post these as well. You could make a little money back and help someone looking for affordable textbooks like you.

6. Resell

Keep your textbooks in good shape throughout the year, so you can resell them once they’re no longer needed. Let your friends on social media know you have books available.†The less your books have been written or highlighted in, and the better the condition of the binding and pages, the more money you can resell them for. If you sell your used college textbooks online, ship fast and securely to cut down on returns.

What ways can you think of to save on college textbooks?


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