How to find the best deals on Textbooks!

The cost of being a college student is not cheap. The entire country is lamenting this. While financial aid and scholarships are a great way to cut costs, they're not the only ways to save money. Textbooks are very expensive-- hundreds of dollars. Taking 4-5 courses can mean dropping some serious money each semester.

I'm a big fan of cost comparison. If someone else has it for cheaper, you bet I'll take it. To buy textbooks, I both work with friends who took the course before and use a site called SlugBooks, which compares textbook prices from major online retailers, your school's bookstore, rental services, and any books they have in stock.

Over the past year and a half, I've saved a lot of money using this site. I like that it shows me who has the book in stock, for how much, and I can even compare rental prices to retail! On SlugBooks, you can search by ISBN, Title and author, or just plug in your school and course and it'll pull up all the listings for your courses. It's really easy to use and it's shown me great online book sellers that I wouldn't have known about without it!

Want more tips on saving money on textbooks?
  • Know whether a book is required or recommended. This type of difference can save you a lot of money. Required books are one you will need for the class, whereas recommended or suggested books are ones that you may find helpful, but may not be necessary. Suggested books are the ones you can hold off on buying, if you decide to buy them at all!
  • Build a network of friends and know what kinds of classes they take. Friends will sell you textbooks for less than a retailer (usually) and you won't have to pay shipping. It's a good idea to ask if you any of your friends still have their textbook as soon as you can, before they sell it to Amazon or what have you. Having an idea of what classes your friends take will save you time. 
  • Be wary of shipping costs. They can add a lot to the price of an item.
  • Also be aware of seller ratings and condition descriptions. Too many people will pay for a cheaper book, not realizing the seller has poor ratings and get stuck with a late book, an awful copy, or the wrong book. 
  • Remember, you can't sell rentals. If a book costs $10 more to buy than to rent, but you can probably sell the book back for more than $10, it probably makes sense to buy it-- you can make the $10 back later.
  • If you can avoid it, don't buy from your school's bookstore. Just a general rule of thumb. 
  • Ask if you can use an older edition. Older editions are typically cheaper than new ones, and in many textbooks, there are few changes from edition to edition. 
  • If you have a good buddy who lives close by and will be your study buddy anyway, ask if you can share. Be wary of this, since any high-pressure sharing situation can get ugly, but it's a good way to cut the cost of a book in half! I have had friends who've done this. I only recommend it if you're both planning to make sacrifices so that it'll work out, and if you live near each other and are around each other a lot. 
Happy savings! Share your tips on buying textbooks if you have any!


1 comment:

  1. Great tips! You can also check to see if your school's library or local library carries any of the required readings. This strategy isn't so great for textbooks, but it's good for literature and related readings.