4 Sneaky Ways to Save Money on College Textbooks

save money on college textbooks

The average college student spends about $1,100 per year–or $550 per semester–on textbooks. That’s a lot of money for textbooks students barely open half of the time. Let’s be real–does it really matter if your calculous book is brand new?

The first week of a new semester is so overwhelming that it’s tempting to surrender to high university bookstore prices. Don’t give your grocery money over to your intro to sociology textbook. You don’t have to look at your tear-stained receipt for $600 of textbooks with regret and remorse. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

Here are four tried and tested options to save money on your books.

1. eTextbooks

Buying an eTextbook can quickly shave costs. Many students use CourseSmart‘s ebook library. You can even rent an eTextbook by the semester or quarter for an additional discount.

If you’re really trying to cut down on costs, sharing an ebook with a friend by logging in at different times and in different locations is another popular option.

2. Facebook

Facebook is a surprisingly awesome resource for textbooks.
Browse Facebook pages for majors, where students post textbooks on the page saying what course and what professor the books were for. There’s also a listing a price, or an “OBO” (or best offer) request. Replying as the top bidder and meeting up with the seller on campus can be an effective way to save $50+ on your textbook.

If sellers are nice, they save some old study materials and tuck them away in the book cover. Or, they give the buyer advice like- I had an Econ101 intermediate macro theory class and I discovered that if you Google the homework problems, you could find the answer keys online. This can be an essential tip to checking your work before you hand in a problem you worked out incorrectly. 

3. RateMyProfessor

Check RateMyProfessor to see if the textbook is necessary. In some classes, you don’t even need to open the textbook. We’re not encouraging you to skip the textbook, but we’ve all had classes with a $200 textbook that we’ve barely browsed by the end of the quarter. RateMyProfessor is a great way to prevent this sad, but common, buyer’s remorse.

4. iClickers

iClickers are the new way of taking class attendance and conducting in-class paperless quizzes. They cost about $80. But, you can borrow one from your friend to save money. You need to pay a re-registration fee of about $40 (which is annoying, but still 50% off).  To avoid this cost–you can sometimes choose to incur a 10 percent mark down in your grade, since that’s the grade portion iClickers will cost you.

We all know to check amazon.com and university bus stop flyers to buy discounted books, but Amazon Prime doesn’t always cut it. Next time you’re in a budget bind, try these four money-saving methods.

Do you have any methods for saving money on overpriced text books?

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