Textbooks for Less | The Frugalista

Textbooks for Less

by frugalista on September 12, 2011

While much has been made about the cost of college tuition putting holes in the pockets of students, it’s the price of textbooks that can be a silent wallet killer.
Students spend an average of $900 a year on textbooks and the price of textbooks has increased at four times the rate of inflation since 1994, according to U.S. Public Interest Research Group, a think tank and consumer watchdog nonprofit. Back-to-school costs are already high enough, so here are some ways to save on books!

Ways to Get Textbooks For Less

Comparison sites
Campusbooks.com: Search for the book you want by ISBN, keyword or author, hit the “compare and save” on the site to see availability, shipping and taxes on your book from major online bookstores.

AbeBooks.com: This site sells all kinds of books – out-of-print, used and new. AbeBooks specializes in cheap e-books and has been around since 1996.

Bigwords.com: This site boasts an average savings of $225 for multi-item orders and says it’s 50 percent cheaper than bookstores. It also has an iPhone and Android app.

Amazon: When you think of Amazon, you think of books for less. One tip for finding even cheaper more affordable books is to check out its international site amazon.co.uk. Especially if it’s not a math book using the metric system, you can use an international edition of a book. Even with overseas shipping costs, you may be able to get a book at a steeper discount.

Textbook Rental Sites
Chegg.com: This site is useful especially for college students taking courses that are not in their major. Chegg allows students to rent textbooks for the semester. Users can highlight moderately, but keeping the book in good condition is strongly encouraged. By renting college textbooks, students may save $500 for the year on books, according to Chegg.

Campus Book Rentals: This site has free shipping and 30-day risk free returns. Highlighting is allowed. The company has been around since 2007. Campus Book Rentals also buys back your used books.

Rent-A-Text: By renting textbooks through Follett’s Rent-A-Text program, students can cut costs by 50 percent or more. You can use highlights in the book (normal wear and tear) and pay through financial aid and campus cards. Students can also save on shipping by having their books delivered to their on campus bookstore.

Used Text Books
Half.com: This eBay company works much like mega site that owns it. Sellers can put their used textbooks up for sale and others may bid to buy them. Use the site’s “buying wizard” to help you find the exact textbooks that you are looking for at a price that’s within your budget.

Alibris.com: Founded in 1998, this site prides itself on having hard-to-find prints. Its business partners include Chegg.com and Barnes & Noble, expanding the library of books for students to buy. You can pay for books using PayPal.

Valore.com: Allows users to buy, rent and sell college textbooks. Around since 2002. The site specializes in college textbooks.

Discount site, bookcloseouts.com, specializes in bargain books. The books are new, but may be imperfect with dents, which is why the site is able to discount its prices. Other times, the publisher just printed too many copies of the book.

Wohnai, Flickr


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