College Advice Blog

Sep 14, 2012

Best Way to Save on College Textbooks

Let's face it, college textbooks are expensive and in order to save we have to be smart about our purchases.  You wouldn't go shopping for a brand new car at one dealership and buy without shopping around so don't do the same thing for textbooks.  All too often I see young freshmen at the college bookstore waiting in line to buy overpriced textbooks.  When I first started to shop around I was blown away at just how expensive the college bookstore was.  I started by checking out other bookstores not affiliated with the college and even those places were a decent savings.  But I didn't get into the big savings until I started looking online.

I remember my first online purchase, it was on  I saved so much money I knew right then and there I'd never purchase a textbook in a store again.  But what I didn't know was that isn't always the cheapest.  For a few semesters I continued purchasing textbooks through amazon until one day a friend told me that it was cheaper at  I was a bit baffled by this because I had never even heard of bookbyte and I couldn't imagine getting my textbooks even cheaper than amazon.  What I did remember is that golden rule: shop around before purchasing.  I started to wonder if I could find a textbook price comparison tool to do the work for me, and I did, Retextbook.  Retextbook is free to use and will compare the cost of your textbook to buy new, buy used, or even rent from over 20 different merchants.  As I was nearing my last semester until graduation I realized that I hadn't learned all there was to saving money with textbooks.

Until recently, I was also selling my textbooks to the same places I purchased them.  Yet again I was mistaken, even in selling textbooks I should have shopped around to see who would give me the most money for my used textbooks.  Fortunately enough, if you want to sell textbooks online, Retextbook also offers a comparison tool through their site.  But even with all these great tools at our disposal, we must think of how we use them.

There are other important things to keep in mind when it comes to textbooks that will help you.  If you're taking a class and it's not pertinent to your major, for example a general education class, consider renting the textbook.  If you can't envision keeping the textbook for many years then it might be wiser to rent your textbook, renting is often (but not always) cheaper.  If the class is directly related to your major, I recommend purchasing the book, used if possible. 

About the Author 
Kevin is a college student at Cincinnati State. 

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