Tips to Save Money on Textbooks

Starting college brings about a lot of new and exciting experiences. One of the most daunting, and shell-shocking, parts is the cost of textbooks. As if classes are not expensive enough, it is reported that students spend an average of $655 per year on textbooks (National Association of College Stores, 2017). Below are some tips on how to reduce costs on textbooks so you have money left over!

Rent: In ten years, you probably are not going to want to flip through your Geology 101 textbook for fun. By renting textbooks, you can keep it for the semester you need it, and then send it back and never look at it again. This is a good option, especially for pre-requisite courses, general education classes, and courses outside your field of study.

Comparison shop: There are many websites out there that will find the best price for your textbooks, whether you are buying, renting, or selling. Just enter the ISBN number and let the computer do the work for you. Check out websites like to find great deals.

E-Books: Tablets and laptops allow students to not only save money on textbooks, but to save space as well. Gone are the days of lugging three textbooks around campus. Now, you can access your required readings at the touch of a button. If you are able to learn information from an electronic device, this can save you money in the long run.

Email your professor: Some professors list textbooks as required, only for you to leave it in your room all semester to collect dust. If you have a relationship with the professor and feel comfortable doing so, send an email to your professor to verify that the book will be utilized through the semester. If the textbook is required, you could also ask if an earlier edition of the book would suffice. Earlier editions are often cheaper and, depending on the subject, the information might not change drastically.

Ask a friend: If you have a friend or classmate who took a class you are getting ready to take, offer to buy their textbook from them. People usually want to get some money back on their books and do not want them to take up space.

Avoid the bookstore: Your campus bookstore is interested in making money. Even renting a book from them is usually more expensive than buying it from an online retailer. Unless you have done your comparison shopping and the bookstore is the cheapest option, avoid this avenue at all costs!

Access codes: Access codes are becoming more and more popular. While they do offer access to their online textbooks or provide a way to complete assignments online, the code itself is only good for a limited time and cannot be sold to another student once it has been activated. If you find a textbook that is bundled with an access code, do not buy it unless you are positive that you will need it for class assignments.

If you have any more questions about college costs be sure to reach out to our office, either by email at or give us a call at 316-265-2000.