How to Save Money on College Textbooks

Let’s start with the good news. After many years, the cost of college textbooks has decreased recently for the first time. 

According to CampusBooks, since January 2017, the cost of textbooks has reduced by 26%. The bad news? The cost of books is still over $1,200 annually. 

Fortunately, there are ways around these huge book prices. Now, you may have to be creative and crafty, but the results will always be worth it. But before we begin, here are some crucial tips you should know. 

Few Words Of Caution And Essential Tips

First of all, we recommend that you don’t purchase all your textbooks before your classes begin. That’s because you may change your classes in your trial period. Now, it’s true that some bookstores may accept your textbooks back for a total money refund. But it’s not a guarantee, so you shouldn’t bet on it. 

Secondly, if you must buy books, it’s always better to buy used textbooks online. But if you get a new book, keep it in good condition as much as possible. You may want to sell it back, and keeping it in good condition can fetch you a higher price. 

Finally, your professor might not like some of the points discussed in this guide. That’s because if you don’t have the actual text they require, you can miss some study questions or information your professor wants you to have. 

But when we get down to the bottom, having access to the books and reading it is what matters. So if you can’t buy a new textbook, let your professor know. They might be more understandable, regardless of how stern they look at times. 

Now, let’s begin. 

Smart Ways To Save Money On College Textbooks 

Use Public Domains To Find Books Using Your Syllabus

You can still stay for the entire duration of a class without buying a textbook. It’s possible, but it depends on your major. You may not find any information online about your organic chemistry textbook, at least not like the same structure as what you use in class. 

However, if your course focuses on humanities, there’s a chance you’ll find materials in the public domain. So check your syllabus and see the texts you’re assigned. Then find out if you can get any of them at the library or free online. 

You’ll likely get philosophical texts, classic novels, or poetry. You can even search on Google and find out if you can download the PDF. But remember that illegal downloading is illegal, so don’t do it. 

Buy Used Textbooks Online 

Used textbooks are always going to be less expensive compared to new ones, except for rare books. So you can always get by with used texts unless you need to purchase a recent textbook edition. And the recent edition was published like a month ago. 

You can find used textbooks almost anywhere. Of course, you can start from your school’s bookstore. But the best place to find used books is at bookselling sites such as, Chegg,, etc. 

When you finish your course and don’t know how to get rid of old textbooks, you can always resell them. 

Rent Textbooks 

If you need a textbook for a short time and know you won’t need it for the class, you can consider renting. You can save about 70 to 90% when you rent books compared to purchasing a new one. You can also save about 50% or more compared to buying used textbooks. 

You can use bookselling sites like to rent the textbooks you need. The best part is that you don’t have to commit to buying anything. If you don’t have the time to resell the books, you can consider renting and prevent any hassle. 

Buy e-Books 

E-books or digital textbooks usually come at a lower price compared to print copies. If you have an e-reader, you can get a better deal for an e-book version of a textbook than a print copy. You can even get e-book versions for free, in some cases. 

You can usually get any book in the public domain for free. You can search through Amazon for free Kindle books or other similar sites. 

However, e-books have their downsides. For example, some books can be cumbersome when they’re converted to digital formats. In addition, a textbook with many images can take a long time to load and can be difficult to flip through. 

But it does come with advantages. You can highlight sections of the textbook or take notes while keeping the text itself clean. In addition, you can navigate your notes easily instead of flipping through the text. 

Final Thoughts 

Even if you get many textbooks from your local library or buy used books at lower prices, you’ll likely have to buy a book or two. Fortunately, you can still resell those new textbooks and get a reasonable amount of your money back. 

It’s always best to sell your books at a bookselling site rather than your campus bookstores.