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Going to college can be an extremely expensive endeavor, so finding ways to save money on your textbooks can be a huge win. In this article, we’ll explore some cheaper alternatives to getting the textbook/class materials you need (without buying them at full price).

1. Check out your school’s library

A lot of the time, your school’s library will have a few copies of the textbooks you need. If this is the case, you can rent the books for free, typically for one or two week-long increments of time. You should plan to rent them around the time you need to read, such as the week before an upcoming exam.

2. Rent from Amazon

Another way to find needed textbooks is through Amazon’s book rental service. For about a third of the price, Amazon will send you your reads right to your doorstep! And when it comes time to send them back at the end of the semester, Amazon will cover the price of postage. All you have to do is find the book using the ISBN number or the title and author of the work! No roaming around helplessly in your campus bookstore required.

3. Compare hundreds of prices all on one website

Have you ever used a website to compare hotel or airline deals? Well, there are plenty of websites that will compare the prices of your textbooks! A few examples: TextbooklySlugBooks, and TextSurf. Some of the sites will have textbooks up to 80% off depending on their conditions, so check them out. Your wallet will thank you!

4. Opt for used books

Buying used books as opposed to brand-spanking-new can save you some serious bucks. A lot of the time, used book stores will be on or near campus for students to browse cheaper pre-owned versions of the same books found for twice the price in the campus bookstores. Many campuses also have facebook buy/sell pages where students can post and comment about textbooks they’re selling or needing. Keep an eye out for those opportunities!

5. Don’t forget about the oldies

What about older versions of your textbook? The prices of older textbooks typically cut in half when newer versions are released, and in most cases, the previous versions of textbooks are almost identical to the new ones. I mean, come on, how much has REALLY changed in your 13th century medieval studies course? To make sure you won’t be missing out on any vital information, reach out to your professors and ask if it’s a good idea to settle for an older version.


When it comes to bargain hunting for textbooks, don’t just settle for the first deal you see. Plan ahead so you can shop around and keep your eyes peeled for a few days; that way, you will save a boatload of money!