11 ways to save on college textbooks

With college prices soaring, every dime counts. Prices for textbook are rising at an average of $900 per year. It doesn't take a college education to figure out there are alternatives to traditional outlets, but incoming freshmen don't always know the ropes, according to Andrea Woroch with Kinoli, Inc .

Here are 11 ways to save this fall from Woroch:

1. Wait until after you've seen the syllabus
Professors must submit their textbook lists far in advance of the next semester, which means they may never require the book. Talk with your professor in the first few days to determine whether you need it or class.

2. Rent
You can rent some of your books from websites like Chegg.com . You'll pay roughly half the purchase price and shipping is often free. Other similar dealers include BookRenter.com and CampusBookRentals.com .

3. Watch daily deals
Chegg.com also says they will begin offering daily deals targeted at college students. Scheduled to start in July, the program will begin with offerings from HP, Capital One, MTV, Microsoft and Dr. Pepper. Also keep an eye out for offers tailored to students by location -- possibly even your local bookstore.

4. Buy used textbooks
Used textbook companies, as well as, traditional bookstores now both buy and sell used textbooks. The selection has greatly increased and the prices are far superior to exorbitant college bookstores. Check out Half.com, Textbooks.com and eCampus.com. You can also check with your bookstore on campus for used textbooks.

5. Download
Few classes require students read every page of a textbook, so why not download the necessary portion from such websites as CourseSmart.com and Open Courseware from MIT ? Project Gutenberg also has scanned in hundreds of free-domain books for use on e-readers.

6. Don't purchase the whole package
Federal regulations no longer allow publishers to combine textbooks with add-ons, such as CD-ROMs and workbooks. Check with your professor or teaching assistant before you buy the whole bundle.

7. Buy online
If you want to physically own a new book, buying online often means free shipping and reduced prices. Grab a coupon code from CouponSherpa.com and shop online at new textbook sellers like Amazon.com , BarnesAndNoble.com and AbeBooks.com .

8. International or older versions
Non-traditional editions are usually significantly cheaper. There may be some slight changes, but many of these tend to be cosmetic or minor and won't greatly impact use.

9. Share
If you carpool, you know the advantage of splitting the cost of high-ticket expenses. Sharing is easier if you're in the same study group and/or see each other frequently.

10. Swap
Some schools now hold swap meets, where students can trade their old textbooks for the ones they'll need next year.

11. Compare Prices
You wouldn't buy a Porsche without shopping around, so do the same with textbooks. Websites such as CampusBooks.com , BigWords.com and AllBookstores.com make the process much easier.

Print this article Back to Top

Comments