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Where to Find the Best Prices on Your Textbooks

by Tim Brunicardi on August 18, 2018

As an incoming college freshman or an experienced college student, you may be anxious to buy your textbooks before the first week of school. However, textbooks can average about $100 a book! If you're looking to buy your textbooks early without spending a fortune, remember these five tips to finding your books on the cheap.

Check the College's Bookstore.

The college bookstore will have many of your required textbooks and is one the easiest and fastest ways to get your books. They'll have books in brand-new condition; however, they're now offering textbooks in used conditions and for a better price. By buying your textbooks used can help you save up to 50%! If you do choose to buy your books used, be aware that the previous owner may have highlighted or underlined information, as well as made notes in the margins. To some, this may be a downfall, but it may be useful because the important information in the text is already highlighted and their notes may help you understand the topic in a different way.


In addition to when you're purchasing used textbooks, make sure that the books are the correct edition. Sometimes, bookstores sell older editions of books, but your professors may require you to have the latest edition. In this case, buying your book new is the only option.

Ultimately, the cheapest option when it come to textbooks is to rent them. Most bookstores are now offering students the ability to rent their books for the duration of the semester for a small fee. If you choose to rent your book(s), remember to write down the return date so that you won't be charged a late fee. Additionally, if you know that you'll need the book for future reference, renting it might not be your best option and you should buy it instead.

Check Online Sources.

Although the campus bookstore might be the easiest way to find your books, buying books online offers even cheaper prices. You can buy your books new or used, and can rent your books from companies like Chegg as well.

To find the best deals, you should use a search engine such as CampusBooks or BigWords. These sites compare prices across the market to help you find your books at the cheapest prices. They search sites such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Half Price Books, and many others to find the best bargains. Again, when buying books online, double check to make sure that you're purchasing the correct edition. Use the book’s ISBN number to make sure that you're searching for the correct edition.

College Iranian student on university campus

Download the eBook.

Some of your required reading may be available as a free download on an eReader or tablet. Famous works that are open to the public are normally the types of books that are available for free. Works by well-known authors such as Jane Austen or William Shakespeare are available for download and can help you save money.

Trade Books With Friends.

One of the most rewarding ways to find your textbooks is to trade with friends. If one of your friends took the same course during an earlier semester and still has their book, odds are you might need that same book. Ask your friend if you can buy it from them or borrow it for the semester. Additionally, you and your friend can swap books for the different classes that you're taking which then becomes a win-win situation. Most students use Facebook or Twitter to reach out to other students about books that they either have or need. Trading books or borrowing from others is also a great way to meet new people and expand your networking system on campus.

Check the College's Library.

Male student picking a book in a library

One of the best resources on campus is the library. Sometimes, the library might have a copy of your textbook and will allow you to check it out for a few hours at a time. The downfall is that you will have to check out the textbook regularly and may not be able to take it back to your dorm to study.

There are many options to get the best prices on your textbooks. The trick is knowing where and when to buy. If you have the tendency to buy your books early, try to stifle your buying until after starting school. You may find that some professors don’t require some books or they might have discount codes that they hand out to their students on the first day. Professors try to do their best to reduce the cost of books for their students.

College textbooks can be expense, but by using these tips on where to find the best prices on your books will save you both time and money this semester.

Happy studying!

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