Even before college classes begin, you should think about your options for buying college textbooks. Fortunately, you have several possibilities to choose from, and many of them are cheaper than you might think!
Option #1: Buy College Textbooks at the Campus Bookstore
The most traditional option is to buy your college textbooks at the school bookstore. This is often easy and allows you to get your books immediately. It can even be a social event, since you can take a trip to the bookstore with your roommate or other students from your dorm. Their presence can keep you from getting bored as you wait in line.
However, this route is often the most expensive. You might end up spending hundreds of dollars on just one book. You can likely reduce that amount by finding used college textbooks at the bookstore, but this will not work for all classes since many professors require you to buy the newest editions. Therefore, prepare to leave the bookstore with a heavy load of books and a lighter wallet.
Something to keep in mind, though, is that many college bookstores — especially those that sell used-editions — offer to buy back your books at the end of the semester. Of course, you won’t get back the full price you paid and often times, you can get more back by reselling on sites such as Amazon.
Option #2: Purchase or Rent Textbooks Online
A great way to save money is by buying or renting college textbooks online. There are several websites that specialize in selling and renting new and used books to college students. The sellers and renters may be the publishers of the books, or they may be students who used the books last year. Either way, it’s likely a cheaper option than buying the books full price at your college bookstore.
At the same time, though, you will have to wait days or even weeks for your textbooks to arrive. This requires you to plan ahead, or risk falling behind on the reading once classes have started. Also, beware of scams. If you plan to use this method of obtaining college textbooks, you should read reviews of the sites you use first.
Option #3: Buy E-Books
You may already have e-books that you read for fun on an electronic book reader or tablet. Now you can buy cheap e-textbooks for college, which are often lower-priced than the traditional book. In addition, you do not have to lug around several textbooks when you use e-books, since you can fit them all on your e-reader.
On the other hand, you cannot sell back your electronic college textbooks to the bookstore like you can with regular textbooks. Also, not all books are available in electronic format yet, so you probably can’t use this idea with all of your college textbooks.
Option #4: Buy or Borrow from Classmates
You can help out fellow students while saving money when you buy your college textbooks directly from them. In fact, you may be able to simply borrow books from students who took your classes last semester. Check with fellow students or recent graduates to see if they still have their college textbooks.
Of course, you cannot count on finding students who have taken all the classes you are taking. This means you will probably not be able to use this route to save money on all of your college textbooks.
Option #5: Share Textbooks
Another way to save money on college textbooks is to share them with classmates. If you already know someone in your class, you can both combine your money to purchase one book to share throughout the semester
The best way to make this work is to study together. You may also be able to trade off so you each have the book every other day, but this only works if you do not have daily homework. Plus, if your class has open-book tests, this idea will not work for you.
Option #6: Borrow from the Library
This is the most traditional way to save money on college textbooks. It is completely free, and you have the option of borrowing from your city library or your school library.
However, this tactic is no longer free if you return the book late. In addition, you will have to continually renew it or even take it back and then check it out again, since many libraries have limited renewal periods. For this reason, it is likely best to only use the library to borrow novels for classes rather than all of your college textbooks.
So many options! How do you plan to get your college textbooks this year?