Buying Textbooks Without Breaking Your Wallet
By Ann Mallick
January 02, 2013
Find out how you can save money on textbooks from student contributor, Ann.
If you are searching for a book that does not appear on Amazon, another helpful website to visit is Book Finder (http://www.bookfinder.com/ ), which searches the web to give you the best deals on the books you’re looking for. This website is helpful if you are looking for a rare book that you haven’t been able to find anywhere else.
2. Renting books online
A potentially cheaper option for getting your textbooks for the semester is to rent texbooks for the semester. Sites such as Chegg, Campus Book Rentals, and Book Renter are rated the top three book-renting websites by Top Ten Reviews.
Usually, renting books is much cheaper than buying them, however when deciding whether or not to rent books, consider the disadvantages, the greatest of which being the inability to sell books back for a portion of the price. If you are buying a textbook for $100 but can sell it back at the end of the semester for $75, buying is a better option than renting it for $40. If you think you will need to refer to your textbooks in future courses, consider buying.
In contrast, if you think you will never have use for the book after one semester, renting might be a better choice. Renting may be more favorable if you know that the course it is required for will not be taught next semester. Also be sure to check the date of return on your textbooks to ensure that you can keep your textbooks for the entire semester.
3. Other Options
Many schools have organizations that facilitate the buying and selling of textbooks between students on campus. This eliminates the cost of shipping and handling, and benefits both the buyer and seller: sellers will usually get more back than if they had resold it online, and buyers receive the correct books immediately and may be able to negotiate the purchase of multiple books for a bulk rate that would be cheaper than buying each book separately. This is especially appealing if you are taking a course that requires many paperbacks, where shipping costs are sometimes more expensive than the book itself.
To save even more on paperbacks or cheap books that accrue expensive shipping costs, do a Google search of the discounted or used bookstores in your city. These stores are not guaranteed to have all the books you are searching for, but sometimes you can get books for as little as $1-2, which is a great deal if you end up paying around $8 on Amazon for the price of the book plus shipping and handling fees.
Lastly, if you own a Kindle or a Nook, you can sometimes download books (such as many of the classics) for $1 or even for free. You may be able to search for electronic versions of your textbook for your Kindle, however there is no buyback for this option and many textbooks are not sold in electronic form.
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