Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Cheap Alternatives for Textbooks

By Sean Scarpiello

Each semester, the typical college student spends anywhere from $500 to $800 on textbooks and other books for classes. All of this money adds up after 4 years of college and it is one of the reasons why colleges are viewed as unaffordable. As high as these textbook prices are, there are still different options when it comes to buying books for classes. There are a handful of different companies that are profiting off of the high prices that school bookstores charge. These companies end up helping the student by providing cheaper options when it comes to purchasing textbooks.

When most college students go to buy books they go to their school’s bookstore. They are guaranteed to have all the required texts because professors give the bookstore a list of books that they will be using in their classes. If a student must buy their books from the bookstore, an easy way to save money is buy used textbooks rather than new ones. Students may save anywhere from 25% to 50% off. It may seem like the savings are not that great, but when you add up the savings, students will have a few extra $20 bills in their pockets. Also, many school bookstores offer a buy back deal. At the end of the semester, students can sell their books back to the bookstore. The school bookstore obviously rips students off, but it is still a way to save money. Often times, students can expect 30% of the money sped on textbooks back, and about 10% of the money spent on novels back. It’s not great, but something to definitely check into at the college bookstore. Every student could use some spending money at the end of the semester, so it is worth a shot.

Another option that more college students need to take advantage of is companies that sell books at cheaper rates. These are companies like amazon.com that have a lot of books for sale, new and used, and will sell them at cheaper prices than the school bookstore. There are other companies that sell books at cheaper prices as well. Students will definitely need to do their homework to save the most money. This means researching prices of books and buying them as cheap as students can find. This may mean students need to order their textbooks off of four or five different websites, but it is worth it. By the beginning of classes, students can save more than 50% on textbooks, as opposed to buying them from the bookstore.

One other option that has gained a lot of popularity in the past few years is renting textbooks. This is a great option for students that are taking a variety of classes. Renting books is extremely easy and cost effective. Websites that rent books will mail your books to the student and at the end of the semester students simply mail the books back. This is a great way to save money and is probably the most cost effective than the other options. However, students cannot always rent all the books that they need during their college career. Some majors require students to have an assortment of textbooks on hand. Biology, for example, is a major where even in the upper level biology classes, students will still need to reference their introductory textbooks. There are a lot of other situations where this is the case also. In general, renting textbooks is the most cost effective option and something all students should look into. There are so many ways to save money on textbooks in college, all it takes is some time designated to go out and look for these great deals.


thisjustin said...

Fight back. Avoid the campus bookstore. Go online if you want cheaper textbooks. As long as some people are still paying retail prices the publishers are not going to be compelled to end their monopoly on student's wallets. Go online and search for used books, international editions, older editions, rentals, and even e-books to combat the high prices. The only problem with this solution is that there are so many places online promising cheaper books. That's why I use http://www.bigwords.com They are a textbook price comparison search engine that searches all the online retailers and rental site to find you the best prices, no matter which format you are seeking.

Dunitz said...


I hope renting textbooks online, creating book-sharing group with other students and visiting the library are the cheap alternatives instead of buying textbooks. used books and e-books are also some crucial cheap alternatives instead of buying textbooks.