Skip to Content

Money-Saving Tips For Buying Textbooks In College


Are you looking for money-saving tips to buy college textbooks? Good news — you’ve come to the right place! As an experienced student, I know how expensive text books can be so that’s why I wanted to share some of my top ways to save on these essential items.

With just a few simple steps, you can find quality textbooks at prices that fit your budget. Not only will this save you valuable cash during school but it also means more money in your pocket when it comes time to sell back your used books after graduation.

In addition, did you know that students spend about $1,240 per year buying new and used textbooks? So let’s look at some creative strategies of cutting those textbook costs down significantly!

Ways to Save Money on College Textbooks

When it comes to buying textbooks for college, there are many potential money-saving options available – from purchasing used books to utilizing textbook rental and sharing programs.

Let’s explore the various strategies students can use to cut down on costs.


Buy used books whenever possible

When it comes to buying textbooks for college, one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to save money is by purchasing used books. Used copies are usually significantly cheaper than new books, which can help to reduce your overall expenses.

Furthermore, while some college courses might require an updated version of a book, in many cases you’ll still be able to use a previous (and cheaper) edition without issue. Additionally, because used books have already been read at least once before being resold or rented out again, their condition should typically be acceptable for academic use despite the lower cost.

The availability of used textbooks also differs depending on where you look. Physical stores such as campus bookstores often stock used versions scattered amongst their newer volumes; however there’s also a vast selection online that can easily be compared with price comparison websites like CampusBooks or Chegg for example.


Rent textbooks

Renting textbooks can be an excellent option for college students who are looking to save money on educational materials without sacrificing quality or convenience. With renting, students typically only use the bookfor one semester and can avoid the hassle of finding buyers at the endof the school year.

It is often significantly cheaper than buyingtextbooks; most campus bookstores and many e-commerce sites offerrental services at competitive prices.

Another benefit of renting textbooks is that it allows more flexibility around course materials – since books are rented rather than bought, there’s no risk in trying a newer edition if it promises better content or value.


Buy older editions

When scouting for textbooks, always seek out older editions. College professors often do not require students to use the latest edition of a textbook and purchasing an outdated version can save significant money.

While some new editions receive noteworthy content updates – such as additional images, multimedia enhancements or key material relevant to the current course offered – most offer minimal modifications from year to year.

To determine whether you should buy an newer edition of a book, check with your professor or contact the publisher directly for information on any added contents. In many cases, buying a used textbook may be just as good as buying a brand-new one but at nearly half the cost! Furthermore, when it comes time to resell it later in the semester (if applicable), there are usually more buyers for used books than there are for new ones; thus leading even greater savings that can add up quickly over multiple semesters.


Share textbooks with friends

Cramming for exams doesn’t have to mean cramming your wallet full of debt. One of the most efficient ways college students can save money on textbooks is by sharing one with a friend.

Not only will both parties benefit from splitting the cost down the middle, it reduces the burden and financial strain on individual budgets as well as conserving resources compared to buying multiple copies of the same book.

By joining forces, everybody wins!

Students must be responsible when handling borrowed books; taking good care during its time in their possession and returning it promptly helps ensure everyone’s access to crucial learning materials at an affordable price.

Additionally, cooperative study groups involving shared textbooks have been proven effective in fostering collaboration between peers, further strengthening teamwork skills through work on class assignments together or studying for tests using resources like 1st Edition textbooks or e-books available online.

Other Tips to Save on Textbooks

There are other ways you can save money when purchasing textbooks, such as comparing prices online, taking advantage of offers and discounts, and using loyalty or reward programs; explore all these options for your next textbook purchase!


Compare prices

When it comes to buying textbooks, saving money can be achieved simply by doing some research and shopping around. One way is to compare prices between different retailers – both online and brick-and-mortar stores.

Not all publishers will charge the same list price for the exact same textbooks, so you should look at a few websites before making your purchase decision.

Cheap textbook options can also be found on platforms such as Amazon, eBay, Chegg or CampusBooks where students can search through an array of used books available for sale from third-parties.

It’s also worth considering any shipping costs associated with purchasing online because that could significantly increase the total cost of the book purchased. Additionally, make sure you are aware of each retailer’s return policy in case there is a problem with what has been bought or it turns out not to meet expectations after having been acquired.


Look for online discounts

With the ever increasing cost of college textbooks, it pays for students to be vigilant in finding discounts whenever possible. Thankfully, there are many online sites that offer big discounts and special deals when purchasing textbooks.

Sites like or often have steep discounts on textbook prices compared to buying them new on Amazon or at your school bookstore — sometimes up to 70%. Also look out for additional offers such as free shipping with $50+ orders and promotional coupons you can use toward future purchases from these sites.

You may also find discounted text books via affiliated links through shopping websites including Barnes & Noble and Amazon, so it pays to actively keep an eye out for any promotional cashback opportunities by subscribing to newsletters or activating loyalty points programs from the latter two retailers (to be sure they don’t end up languishing in your spam folder).


Use reward programs

Reward programs are great for college students looking to save money on textbooks. Many online bookstores and retailers offer loyalty programs with membership benefits including discounts, free shipping, reward points, and exclusive access to new titles.

Some programs even send alerts when specific books or editions go on sale for lower prices—perfect timing if you’re shopping at the start of a term. Signing up is easy: most times all it requires is an email address.

Rewards can add up quickly given the high cost of textbooks; noticeable savings can come as early as your first purchase after enrollment—so make sure you take advantage! For instance, Amazon Student Prime offers free two-day shipping plus amazing extras like music streaming integration and photo storage that could really benefit any college student’s budget.

Be sure to inquire about rewards from individual retailers too; independent bookshops often keep track of their customers’ purchases in order to provide personalized discounts or perks down the line which could be even better than what larger stores have to offer.


For college students looking for ways to save money on textbooks, few strategies are more practical than planning ahead and researching different options. As always, shopping around before making a purchase can lead to significant savings.

Consider buying used books whenever possible, renting when available, or sharing with friends in order to stretch your budget further. In addition, make sure you take advantage of online discounts like Amazon sales and reward programs that many schools offer directly on campus.

With careful consideration of all potential cost-saving tactics and a bit of luck, students have the potential to significantly reduce their textbook costs while getting the same quality education they would get otherwise.


1. How can I save money when buying textbooks in college?

There are various ways to save money on textbooks in college, such as taking advantage of online price-comparison sites, utilizing open educational resources or digital textbooks, renting physical books instead of buying them and sharing with classmates.

2. What is an Open Educational Resource (OER) and how can it help me with textbook costs?

Project Gutenberg is an example of an OER library that provides access to thousands of out-of-copyright academic texts for free from its website or e-reader devices such as Kindle or other tablets preloaded with special files like ePubs.