Cheap Textbooks

In high school, textbooks are most often provided by schools. So for many students, textbook prices in college can come as quite a shock. The textbooks available for purchase from colleges and universities tend to be very expensive. Students can spend as much as $200-500 per semester on textbooks. Luckily, there are alternatives to buying full-price textbooks.

Book Stores

Some bookstores now sell college textbooks. Second-hand stores such as Half Price Books sell textbooks for reduced prices. Students might also consider looking around books stores near their universities to find second-hand textbooks. As long as you make sure that the edition you find is the edition you need for your course, then second hand book shops are ideal for purchasing textbooks. And even if the edition is not the one listed for the course, students might try asking their professors if the earlier edition would work as well. Professors generally understand that textbooks are expensive and will try to ease the burden for students if possible.

Online

Textbooks can also be found at reduced prices online. Amazon.com both sells and buys textbooks on their website. This is great for students looking to buy used textbooks or who wish to sell old textbooks as a way to recover money. There are also student textbook exchange sites where students can buy and sell their own books. Sometimes there is even an option to exchange textbooks with other students.

Your College Or University Book Store

Most colleges and universities sell used textbooks in addition to selling brand new ones. Simply go to your school’s bookstore like you would when buying new textbooks and look for books labeled “used." They are usually a lot less expensive than new books, and they might even have helpful notes in them from students who have taken the course before. Possible downsides with used textbooks are that they might be damaged, though the bookstore usually checks for damage when they are buying them back.

Your College Library

If there is simply no room in your budget for buying textbooks, new or used, your school library may have the textbooks you need available for checkout, or, more likely, on reserve and available to read at the library. Often libraries will allow students to reserve time with textbooks so that they may complete the necessary reading or assignment without removing the book from the library. This is done so that multiple students can use the book.

Back to top

Ask Us a Question

Have a question? Our experts are ready to provide answers. Send us a question and we'll publish the response.