College textbooks can take a huge bite out of a college student's budget. Many are priced in the $100 range and sometimes over. A full time student can easily spend close to a month's rent on one semester. So what can a student do to help alleviate this necessary expense?
Buying all of your textbooks for the semester directly through your college's bookstore may be the easiest and fastest way to get your books but in many cases it won't be the most economical route to take. You can save quite a bit if your school bookstore has used textbooks available, but getting used books through your college's bookstore is often difficult due to demand. Campus bookstores have long held a monopoly on the college textbook market, but there are a growing number of convenient and flexible options that can help students bypass pricey college bookstores for much of their textbook needs and save them a significant amount of money. Here are some tips about how to save money on your college textbooks:
1. Ask About Older Versions
One thing to keep in mind is the edition of the book. College textbooks are constantly updating to newer editions. Although the best practice is to stick with the newest edition which is what most colleges and universities will ask for, many times there are only minor changes from one edition to the next. Buying one edition older may not make much difference except in your wallet, and the savings can be substantial, so ask your professor if an older edition would do.
2. Trade Used Textbooks
TextSwap.com is a free textbook exchange service that allows you to trade used textbooks online. Only a very limited number of universities are covered on their site however, and if you're lucky enough to find a student who happens to have a book you need (and the right version), then you have to coordinate your swap with the other student as well as handle mailing your book to them and waiting for them to mail yours to you. If you're taking a fairly common course and have the luxury of trust and time on your hands this might work out for you. Otherwise, though, please read on for other ideas.
3. Use Free Online Books When Possible
When it comes to saving money, it doesn't get any better than free. A small, but growing number of sites provide online accress to open source textbooks. For example, Bartleby.com has Gray's Anatomy of the Human Body, Strunk's Elements of Style, Harvard Classics, and many other useful reference books available for free. Bookboon provides online textbooks for students in PDF format. Legal and written exclusively for Bookboon, these free eTextbooks are financed by a few in-book ads and can be downloaded without registration.Also don't forget that there are many free reference books and classics available daily for Kindle eBooks.
4. Comparison Shop
Online stores can offer great deals also and with so many to choose from you are bound to find what you are looking for. All that is needed is the title, author and edition or the ISBN number to get started on a search for the best price. Make sure to get started early so you can be sure to have your book before class starts. Half.com, eBay, and Craigslist are good places to look, but you might not be able to find the current version of the text you need, and shipping costs can take their toll as well, so be sure to cross-check your total cost (Book + Shipping Cost) and version against an established online bookstore such as Amazon.com to determine which offers the version you need at the best overall price. Amazon offers savings of up to 90% on used textbooks and up to 30% on new textbooks, and then get you can get up to 70% back when you sell your books back there as well. Plus they offer free shipping on purchases of $25 or more for textbooks purchased from Amazon directly, and very low shipping for purchased made from Amazon Marketplace sellers. Plus if you become a member of Amazon Student you will get FREE Two-Day Shipping for one year with Amazon Prime shipping benefits.
You can even conduct an Amazon textbook search right here. . Just type in the information you have on the book in the search box and a list of sellers offering the books, their condition and asking price will show up.
Buy New or Used Textbooks
5. Use eTextbooks & Digital Course Materials Instead of Printed Textbooks
Ask your college bookstore if they offer electronic books. Subscribing to a low cost eTextbook service allows students to skip lugging around heavy textbooks and save an average of 60% off the cost as well. Students get instant access digital textbooks and course materials anytime and anywhere (online & offline) via desktop, laptop, iPad, iPhone or Android devices. Plus, students get the added advantage of access to useful tools for more effective studying. With eTextbooks there's No shipping. No waiting. Just Search, Find, Subscribe, and Save.
CourseSmart is the world's largest provider of digital course materials. Their catalog includes over 90% of the core textbooks in use today as eTextbooks, as well as the largest online catalog of eResources and digital course materials available for instant access. Students can enjoy the benefits of anytime, anywhere access to important course materials at the click of a mouse from any web browser and on many popular devices (including the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch). CourseSmart eTextbooks are available in online and downloadable format at up to 60% off the price of print textbooks. DO MORE. Studying with CourseSmart is so efficient, you'll have more time and money to do what you love!
6. Rent Your Textbooks
Textbook rental companies have become increasingly popular with college students in recent years. Renting textbooks saves you money and gets the same result in your classes as buying your books. Students typically see a savings of 50% to 85% over new or used purchases. Some students will see even greater savings of up to 90 or 95%.
BookRenter is the original online textbook rental service. Offering one-stop shopping with the largest selection of high quality college textbooks at unbeatable prices, they make the book rental process simple, fast and affordable. All of BookRenter's textbooks are hand-inspected ensuring only the highest quality with each and every rental. Standard shipping is FREE (both ways), and all orders can be shipped with next-day or 2 day shipping. Save hundreds on your college textbooks with BookRenter!
CampusBookRentals, a trusted provider of textbook rentals to thousands of students since 2007, offers nearly every textbook available and every rental comes with a worry free guarantee within the first 30 days of your order if you drop your class or change your mind. You keep more cash in your pocket up front, you can order from the comfort of your home or office, it doesn't cost a penny to return your rented textbooks when you're done with them ( they even provide the package), and you don't have to worry about disappointing buyback prices at the end of the semester. Save a Buck, Rent a Book .
Collegebookrenter has helped thousands of college students on campuses across the nation save up to 85% on millions of textbooks since their 2009 launch. In addition to fast and dependable FedEx shipping, they also offer free return shipping through UPS, which saves students even more money. Rent TextBooks...Because College is Expensive Enough!! Rent Your Textbooks & Save!
For years, college bookstores and textbook publishers have had the upper hand with the textbook market, and companies have made a fortune charging students as much as possible for the books they are required to use for class. Thanks to comparative online textbook shopping, digital book downloads, and textbook rental services, students have lots of innovative and legal ways to save money on college textbooks!
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