Buying affordable textbooks has always been a struggle for college students. In addition to paying for tuition, room and board, dining, and supplies, finding cheap textbooks has been a burden on students looking to save money. Over the years, there have been new opportunities to save money on textbooks that students in the past didn’t have. These opportunities are:
- Buy used textbooks online
- Rent textbooks from your bookstore or online
- Purchase an e-textbook subscription from the publisher
- Selling back your used textbooks online when finished using them
- Use an older edition textbook
Buy Used Textbooks Online
This is where you can get big discounts on your textbooks. You can easily find used textbooks online that sell for 80% or more discount from retail. Considering that most new textbooks start at $250 and up, finding the same textbook used for $50 is a big bonus for the savvy college student. You just have to be careful that you buy from a reputable online retailer like Mybookcart. There are quite a few disreputable retailers out there that will take advantage of college students who are looking for a good deal. Some of the things to look out for are:
- Online retailers who are selling an international student edition as the regular student edition.
- Online retailers who are selling Instructor Review Copies as the regular student edition. You can identify these books by the stickers or tape the disreputable dealer will place along the top of the front and back covers.
- Online retailers who are selling counterfeit textbooks. Yes, believe it or not, there is a black market for textbooks. You don’t want to buy these types of books as you will not be able to resell them. Plus, the publishers are cracking down on this big time.
- If the price is too good to be true, this is a red flag. The retailer may be trying to take advantage of you.
Rent Textbooks From Your Bookstore or Online
Renting your textbooks can also be a good way to save money on your textbooks. A big player in the textbook rental market is Chegg. As always, you need to read the fine print when renting your textbooks. First, you will need to determine the length of the rental period to see if it gives you enough time to use the book for your class. The due date is the most important thing to remember when renting your college books. The rental company will provide you with the free pre-paid return label, but the book must arrive at their facility by the due date, or else you will be charged. You will be charged late fees, and worst case scenario, you will be charged the full retail price of the textbook if the book is returned late. So, if you are a procrastinator, renting may not be your best option. But if you tend to be on time for everything, renting your textbooks can be a great way to save money on your college textbooks.
Purchase an e-textbook subscription from the publisher
Digital textbook subscriptions are the newest, latest and greatest, things that textbook publishers are advertising. A 4-month subscription costs $119.99 at Cengage Learning. This includes Cengage course materials (MindTap, WebAssign, SAM, and others), Cengage etextbooks for your courses, and a hard copy textbook rental for eligible courses. If a 4 month subscription isn’t long enough, there are longer subscription available for a higher cost.
Selling Back Your Textbooks Online
This is where buying your textbooks used online can make you even more money. Check this out: You buy a textbook used for $90, and you sell it back when you are finished for $60.00. That means you only spend $30.00 on your college textbook! You can sell your books back to Mybookcart which is a textbook buyback company that buys back used textbooks for fast cash. Type in the ISBN numbers of the textbooks you are looking to sell into Mybookcart to receive instant buyback quotes. A free pre-paid shipping label will be provided where the books are shipped at no cost to you. Once the books are received and processed, payment is issued by check or PayPal. Shipping times usually take 4-5 business days in transit and processing takes 1-3 business days. So you can expect to be paid 5-8 business days after you place your books in the mail. Email updates are sent during each step of the book buyback process.
Use Older Edition Textbooks
Most savvy college students realize that older edition textbooks are much, much cheaper than the new releases. Most of the time, a textbook publisher makes only minor changes with a new edition release. And if the textbook is for a class that doesn’t have much change, such as math or physics, an older textbook will work for your class! Compare the table of contents of the older and newer edition. If nothing has changed, go for the older edition! Your wallet will thank you.