How to Save Money on Textbooks

College is expensive. I’m constantly trying to find ways to save money where I can and over the past four years, I’ve found a few ways to save money on textbooks. Here are some tips on where to shop for books along with a few questions you should ask yourself before you bring out the credit card.


Shopping online and in stores both have perks and drawbacks, and it’s important to know them before you commit to shopping a certain way. When buying books online, you should take into consideration shipping and handling fees, the seller, the time it will take to arrive, along with the condition of the books.

Before you buy your books, make sure that every book is required and not suggested. You can also consider emailing your teacher to see if an older edition of the textbook will suffice.

Rent textbooks | Most stores and online shops will provide the option to rent textbooks as opposed to buying them. If you can’t find a good price to buy your textbook, this is a nice alternative. A quick Google search for coupon codes could help you save a few dollars. If you decide to rent, you should be aware of the deadline to return it, as well as any fees associated with returning your book late or damaged.

Using Social Media| Check to see if your college or university has any Facebook group pages where fellow students post about textbooks. These pages might also come in handy when you’re looking to sell your books at the end of the semester.

Amazon | I’ve found Amazon to be a great resource for buying textbooks when I have a few extra days of reading. If you aren’t an Amazon Prime Member, I would recommend you look into it because it’s a great resource for students. Amazon Prime Members get free shopping and it ships in 2 days! Students get Amazon Prime free for the first year and after the first year, it’s $49/year. (It’s normally $99/year for regular members.) I have found it to be a great purchase since I regularly shop online. Plus, it’s great during the holidays because of the two-day shipping!

Other Sites | Check out online sites like and A lot of my friends order through Chegg because they often have every book they need. Thriftbooks can be incredibly cheap, but know that you should order your books early to accommodate longer shipping times.

eBooks | If you have a Kindle, Nook, or iPad, eBooks help you to bring your books with you without having to carry them to class. eBooks are also great for the procrastinators because you can get them immediately. An added bonus is not having to lug your textbooks to class everyday.

Bookstores | Most bookstores want to prevent you from ordering online and will offer special deals. For instance, Bill’s Bookstore in Tallahassee will sell you a textbook for 10% cheaper than anything sold directly from the Amazon Marketplace. You also might be eligible for rewards which you can redeem during future semesters.

Borrowing | I’ve noticed that most college students forget about the cheapest and most reliable option: the library! I’ve borrowed so many books from the library for free. The only drawback is that you’re not guaranteed to have the book for the entire semester, so make sure you have a back-up plan for when they’re due. Check to see if your library participates in a library union where they can request books from other libraries in your state.

Do you have any other tips on saving money in college? What are your favorite sites to get textbooks?

Image source // HerCampus


One thought on “How to Save Money on Textbooks

  1. johniet1 says:

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