How to Save the Most Money on Buying Textbooks

by Mr. Mark Weatherford

One of the worst parts about the start of a new semester is that it means you need to buy new textbooks. You could easily spend a few hundred dollars or more, and that’s in addition to the crazy amounts of money you already spend on tuition and housing. Unfortunately you can’t usually find a way around buying them. If you don’t have the book, you usually can’t pass the class. Your only option is to try to spend as little as possible on your purchases. It’s not as impossible as it seems. Here are some methods and tips for saving the most money when buying your textbooks.

Anticipate Your Needs

One of the best sources of buying discounted textbooks is your fellow students. If you can find a student with the textbook you need, you’ll save a lot of money, and they’ll get more money from you than selling them back to the campus bookstore. It’s a win-win situation, but it’s not always easy to accomplish. It’s worth a try, though. You oftentimes schedule your classes for the next semester in the middle of the current one. Find out if any of your friends are taking those classes now, and if they are, ask if you can purchase their books from them after finals.
However, be very careful when you go this route. Lots of times professors change their syllabuses, or a new edition will come out. If you know the teachers who will be teaching you, consider sending them an email and asking them if they’ll be using any of the same books next semester. If it’s a class that is consistently known to use the same books, you’re probably safe. If you’re not sure, wait. Buying a textbook you don’t need is a quick way to lose a lot of money.
Comparison Shop

If you need to purchase new books, make sure you do a thorough comparison before choosing a place to buy. Check out websites like and, which will do the comparison shopping for you and let you know where is they’re cheapest. Just make sure to factor in the cost of shipping in your decision. If not included in the search, make sure to check out sites like and


Another option is to rent your textbooks rather than buy them. This is a great idea since you won’t need them for very long anyway. Websites like and can offer you rentals on many books. Just make sure you return them on time, or you’ll have to pay a penalty. Find out when finals are and make sure your deadline is afterwards.

Buy Digital

More and more textbooks are offering digital versions. You can purchase digital versions for much less than hard copies. Check out e-book dealers like and to find out if your textbooks come in e-book format. If you have a tablet computer or e-book reader like the Kindle, it will be incredibly easy to transport and read all your textbooks.

This post was written by Mr. Mark Weatherford

Mark Weatherford is a high school English teacher and freelance writer who enjoys blogging. He often writes content with the goal of encouragaing or helping students with everything from school choices to tips for writing good college essays. Photo Credit: textbookace

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