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A Guide To The Cheapest College Textbooks

A Guide To The Cheapest College Textbooks

To get the cheapest textbooks, there's websites for searching new and used textbooks and saving money! Here's how to get the cheapest college textbooks.

College Textbooks: The most expensive books you will ever buy and then avoid reading at all costs! If that doesn’t sound scholarly, I don’t know what does. But what we despise most about these heavy, expensive rectangles they call “books” – the price. College textbook costs are the reason for your strict diet of Ramen Noodles and store brand apple juice. But there’s a solution. Upgrade to Mott’s apple juice boxes (hell yeah) and better vodka when you buy textbooks online! Here’s how to get the cheapest college textbooks possible:

Here's how you can find the cheapest college textbooks

Textbook Search Engines

Check out college textbook websites with search engines, like the search tool at Barnes and Noble and Studentrate. On Barnes and Noble, you can search book titles, authors, ISBN (International Standard Book Number) and keywords and get great prices for renting and buying books that are new and used! And with any purchase you make at Barnes and Noble, you can receive 6% cash back when you shop through Studentrate! Not sure if you should rent or buy? Read on for help to figure it out!


On the Studentrate search engine, you can search book titles, authors, ISBN (International Standard Book Number) and keywords and compare prices on sites that sell textbooks. The search engine will give you prices from different websites, whether the textbooks are new or used, and the cost of shipping. In addition to finding the lowest price available for each option – buying, renting, new, used, or eBooks – Studentrate’s search engine also combines available coupons and cash back offers to provide the absolute best value! It’s a foolproof way to find the textbooks you need and get awesome deals on them!


Some people will say to wait to get your textbooks until classes start, and you are sure that you need them. But, being prepared never hurts anyone, especially when it can cost you less. And, even if you do wait, you will know exactly where you should buy/rent them from right when school begins. So which heavy rectangles should I consider, you ask?

Buy & Rent Used

There’s certainly nothing wrong with used textbooks. Most times, used books come in pretty good condition, maybe just with a love note here or a highlighted passage there. And for the more frugal buyers, used books are almost always cheaper. I’ve purchased mostly used textbooks in the past and have never had a complaint! What’s the point in spending full price on a book you know you’re only going to use it for a couple months (or a couple minutes)? If you think that way, renting used in definitely for you.


Buy & Rent New

If you’re all about that “mint condish,” new is the way to go. If you’re buying, you can do all your own highlighting and note taking within the book – great for looking back when midterms roll around. If you decide to rent, replace highlighters with sticky notes to mark pages with important information or passages. And for those without an extensive textbook collection, with renting, you can send the books back (as long as you know you won’t need them again) usually after finals period and get rid of them altogether. But, make sure you don’t miss the return date or you’ll be charged!

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While a great option if you can actually manage to make it work, exchanging textbooks with other students on or around your campus is another idea. Of course, you will need to find someone who has the a book in good condition, the right edition, and is actually reliable enough to get it to you, PLUS is need of a textbook that you happen to own. Often times hoping to exchange textbooks with another student is more hassle than it’s worth, but if you can make it happen – talk about convenience!



Ask your professors if textbooks required for the class are available online. You may be able to find the eBook version, but it can’t hurt to be sure your professor approves. Online books aren’t for everyone, but they certainly save pounds in the backpack and storage in your dorm room.
Did we help you find the cheapest college textbooks possible? Let us know down below!

*These are sponsored links. All opinions are my own. 

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