College is already expensive enough as it is, so you’re going to need some places to find good textbook sales. Tuition is already going to bury you in debt for your years to come in all likelihood, and you still need enough money left over to actually live your life. Don’t spend more than you have to on your textbooks. Here are a few good places to look for finding your scholastic requirements at a discounted price.
Check Your Local Bookstore
If you live in or near a university town, there’s bound to be at least one store nearby that buys and sells textbooks from students. It’s all about location, location, location. It’s always worthwhile to check their selection before you buy your books each semester. You never really know what you’re going to find there, but it can really help you save money on your books, and you’ll be supporting a small business as well. You can sell it back at the end of the semester and keep your money out of the hands of major corporations because God knows you’ve already done plenty of that.
Rent Whenever Possible
If you’ve ever had the thought that you should probably keep your textbooks after the class is over so you still have them as learning materials for the future, you’ve been duped. They got you. You know deep down that you’re never going to open that book again, so why spend extra money to keep the book forever when you only need it for a couple months? Rent your books whenever you can. Your school’s bookstore likely has a rent option for most books, and that is the best choice for your budget. Don’t let them trick you.
Sometimes you just can’t avoid the clutches of the big corporations. Amazon is omnipresent, and Jeff Bezos is our supreme overlord. There is no denying the convenience that Amazon offers, though. You can buy or rent your textbooks and have them delivered the next day, along with just about anything else in the world you can think of.
Amazon also offers a student version of their Prime service, which provides a number of perks such as next-day delivery, special discounts, and a membership to their streaming service, all at a discounted price. If you have no problem acquiescing to the capitalistic monolith that may prove to be our society’s downfall, then look on Amazon, and you may just save a few bucks. Really, it’s not that serious and you shouldn’t feel bad at all for buying from Amazon, but I can’t in good conscience recommend shopping there without also acknowledging their troubling prominence.
There are many websites from which you can buy or rent your textbooks, but not many offer something similar to a free 4 week trial of Chegg’s study service. The service offers step-by-step solutions to many textbook problems that can really boost your understanding.
Additionally, they boast an expert Q&A service that allows you to post a picture of a problem and get a response from an expert within an hour. It might just be worth buying or renting your books for the next semester here if for no other reason than to try out their service for yourself. You never know what will change your academic life until it happens, and maybe Chegg will do just that. Or maybe it won’t, and that’s why you still want to rent, not buy.
You have to love when a website’s name actually explains what that site does. We’re looking at you, Chegg. Cheapesttextbooks.com allows students to simply search for their required textbook, and the website will check thousands of booksellers (allegedly) to find you the cheapest possible options.
It’s reasonable to question whether their service is %100 accurate and their website, which was established in 2001, sort of looks like it’s never been updated since then. Still, it’s a great place to begin your quest for the cheapest textbooks possible. If that sounds appealing to you, or if graphic design is your passion, then you should give this site a shot.
Cengage Unlimited eTextbooks
It’s a digital world, and tactile books are becoming more and more obsolete. It makes sense that there should be a sort of Netflix for textbooks, as there’s a Netflix for everything now. For 70 bucks per semester, this service gives students access to 14,000 textbooks and other study materials.
Most individual textbooks inexplicably cost a lot more than that if you buy them new, so this subscription can be a great way to save money. However, it is a bit of a gamble, because there’s no guarantee that your required texts will always be provided by it. Still, it can be a really helpful way to save money while keeping all of your e-books in one place, and if you really want, you can rent up to four physical copies per semester for free, except for the cost of shipping.
A non-profit retailer may seem like an odd choice for buying your books, but they offer an entire service dedicated to media such as books and movies called Goodwill Books. It’s a real crapshoot to look here because you really don’t know what you’re going to find, but it’s worth trying, and you don’t have to worry about the impending guilt of supporting a parasitic conglomerate.
If you’re feeling especially generous, or you’re worried about your karma, you could even donate your old textbooks if you want to. Any place that allows you to buy an entire suit to wear to your grandfather’s funeral for a total of $14 is okay in my book. Yes, that really happened, and I’d do it again if I had to. Regardless, Goodwill is another great place to consider on your quest for the cheapest textbooks you can find.