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College Costs: 4 Tips to Save on Textbooks

College Costs
College Costs

Yes, you may have $300 required textbooks for gen-ed courses that are completely unrelated to your major. No, you may not always be able to sell them back to the bookstore. Now that we’ve established that, let’s talk about some options to help you save on textbooks.

  • Buy used. Best. Tip. Ever. Not only will used textbooks be cheaper, but you’re not compromising quality for the better deal. In fact, you may find the previous owner’s highlighting and notes helpful.
  • Don’t always buy from the campus bookstore. This is especially true if the campus bookstore is out of used copies of the books you need. Check online for lower prices, but use caution. Some professors are sticklers for using the newest version of the textbook. Make sure you’re getting the version of the book you actually need.
  • Consider renting. Sometimes paying more upfront to buy textbooks rather than renting them is a good idea. You will likely be able to get some of that money back by reselling the book once the course is over. But some books can’t be resold. Books that are updated on a regular basis, for a course that isn’t offered every semester, or required by a visiting professor are usually better to rent since they may be more difficult to resell.
  • Hustle your residence hall. You can save on used books by cutting out the middleman—the campus bookstore. Ask around to see if anyone is finishing up a course you’re just starting and will sell you their used textbook. You can also sell your used books to other students for more than the bookstore would give you for the buyback.

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