About · Press · Contact · Write For Us · Top Personal Finance Blogs
Featured In:

College Savings Tips: Buy Used Text Books

By Erik Folgate

Many college students will be going back to school soon, so I decided to put together a series of savings tips for college students. Many of the tips that I share are ones that I used myself while I was in college. One of the largest expenses for college students other than rent and tuition, are the dreaded textbooks. The amount that publishers charge for textbooks is criminal. Plus, some of them package a textbook with the workbook and practice tests, so you are forced to buy the entire package or nothing at all. It’s sick, and college students know it. Here’s what you can do.

  • Check your local used text book store. The prices are typically 15% to 30% cheaper than new text books.
  • Check Half.com, Craigslist, and Amazon.com for used text books at a fraction of the price.
  • Go to the first class before buying textbooks, and ask the professor specifically how much he or she will use the text book. You may find out that you don’t need it at all or you may be able to get away with checking the book out at a library periodically throughout the semester.
  • Share a textbook with a friend. Work out a system where you take the book for a certain amount of time to study with it, and your friend takes it for the rest of the time.
  • Check out a textbook swap website such as bookswap.com, swapbooks.com, and collegebookswap.com to get rid of old textbooks for ones you need.
  • Publishers love to make new editions just to sell new textbooks and make used ones obsolete. The dirty little secret is that some older editions have EXACTLY the same content as newer editions, and you can find older editions for DEEP discounts.

Don’t settle for paying full price for your textbooks. It’s not worth it, and many professors rely heavily on their own notes for the course cirriculum. More often than not, textbooks are only a reference, rather than the bulk of the cirriculum for a college course. Choose wisely, and do your research. You’ll literally save hundreds of dollars if you follow the tips I listed above.

Erik Folgate
Erik and his wife, Lindzee, live in Orlando, Florida with a baby boy on the way. Erik works as an account manager for a marketing company, and considers counseling friends, family and the readers of Money Crashers his personal ministry to others. Erik became passionate about personal finance and helping others make wise financial decisions after racking up over $20k in credit card and student loan debt within the first two years of college.

Related Articles

  • http://www.realmofprosperity.com Simon

    Good basic tips. Since I’m still a college student, I’d like to add another VERY IMPORTANT tip:

    Check the flyers on bulletins throughout the school buildings. Many other students cover walls with their Used Textbook flyers. You are bound to find something you need. And don’t hesitate to contact the seller, there are great deals to be found so don’t miss out.

    Plus, when you meet up for the transaction, ask about the class/professor and how to use the book to get good grades!

  • http://bookscouter.com/ Brandon

    Excellent tips. You definitely shouldn’t pay full price for any textbooks.

    For me, price comparison sites are the way to go. They compare prices from a bunch of bookstores so that you can find the best deal. Use CampusBooks.com when buying your books and BookScouter.com to compare buyback prices at the end of the semester when selling them back. In many cases, you can buy a used book, keep it in good condition, and sell it back and it will hardly cost you anything.

  • Mayra Cedillo

    Between this and the article on used textbooks on wisebread, I think you just saved my sister a ton of cash for her second semester in college. Thank you so much for the new references such as the book swap websites.

  • DG

    going to class first and then scoping out the book store for isbn numbers is a good thing. amazon sells books cheap (sometimes more cheap than used books) but wisebreads is good too and campusbooks. sometimes, race to the library and get some books from there as well!

  • http://madsaver.com Mac

    Like the first poster, I’d recommend buying and selling your textbooks to other students. Cheaper for the buyer and the seller can sell for more as well. Definitely a win-win, even though it’s still pricey. Sometimes professors post their book list at the last minute, so then you have little choice but to spend the big bucks for a book you may or may not need. Sometimes its unavoidable, but in those cases, check the library first. You may get lucky.

  • Erica

    Another good site is http://www.Booklookr.com for cheap books and text books, it’s a price comparison search engine site that lets people compare book prices to get the best deal.

  • http://www.bkreviews.com Jnifer

    Between this particular and the post on utilized textbooks upon wisebread, I think you simply saved my personal sister a lot of cash on her second term in college. Thanks so much for that new referrals such as the guide swap web sites.

  • http://www.sellbooksnow.net Felipe Ferrel

    Just browsing and found your website – thanks for sharing.

  • http://www.thebookbeaver.com/ The Book Beaver

    Maximize your profit by buying cheap textbooks for sale at The Book Beaver. It offers students and parents, an interface to buy and sell textbooks in good condition.

  • http://www.thebookbeaver.com/ The Book Beaver

    Maximize your profit by buying cheap textbooks for sale at The Book Beaver. It offers students and parents, an interface to buy and sell textbooks in good condition.

The content on MoneyCrashers.com is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as professional financial advice. Should you need such advice, consult a licensed financial or tax advisor. References to products, offers, and rates from third party sites often change. While we do our best to keep these updated, numbers stated on this site may differ from actual numbers. We may have financial relationships with some of the companies mentioned on this website. Among other things, we may receive free products, services, and/or monetary compensation in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products or services. We strive to write accurate and genuine reviews and articles, and all views and opinions expressed are solely those of the authors.

Advertiser Disclosure: The offers that appear on this site are from credit card companies from which MoneyCrashers.com receives compensation. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they appear on category pages. MoneyCrashers.com does not include all credit card companies or all available credit card offers, although best efforts are made to include a comprehensive list of offers regardless of compensation. Advertiser partners include American Express, U.S. Bank, and Barclaycard, among others.