After signing up for classes, most students head straight to the campus bookstore to get all their required materials for their classes, which includes textbooks. The trip often ends with over $200 worth of textbooks that you might not even use.
“Textbooks get pricey sometimes, and the bookstore usually doesn’t have the used version of the textbook so you’re stuck with buying them new,” says Hailey, a student who is attending classes at the Jordan Campus. “There aren’t many options when it comes to textbooks – you can either buy or rent them. When you rent them, at most places you can only keep them for 30 days at time and then pay again; a semester is longer than 30 days.”
College is stressful enough and there’s no need to add extra stress by worrying about how you’re going to pay for your textbooks. There are many options to consider and to take advantage of.
Used textbooks are highly popular, but the reality is that there’s just not that many. Renting textbooks can be an effective alternative for those who are looking to pay a little less, but it doesn’t save you the most money in the end. Many places have flexible rental programs, so you can keep the book for up to 130 days if needed.
If renting textbooks sound even more stressful than buying them, there are off-campus stores like Barnes & Noble and PJs Bookstore that offers rental and used textbooks at a discounted price.
Ordering textbooks is another option, and there are many different websites that may have the textbook for cheaper than the bookstore.
Amazon offers new and used textbook options and shipping is only two days with Amazon Prime. Amazon also offers textbook rentals that are half the original price and rent them out for the length of the semester at a one-time cost.
Another good website to check out would be Thriftbooks. Thriftbooks is a thrift store website for books where you can find textbooks new and used. The new versions of the textbooks are heavily discounted and you’re able to pay less and get the same quality textbook as from the bookstore but for a better price. The used textbooks are also heavily discounted and run from $3-$15. Shipping takes a bit longer, from 4-14 days depending on where in the US the book is coming from.
campusbooks.com is another good website to search on. They allow you to search for your textbook and they give you a list of stores and websites that offer your book and you can find the cheapest place to order it from. You can also find websites that have the cheapest rental rates.
If you have a kindle or any tablet, eBooks may be the best option for you. eBooks allow you to rent, buy, or even test them out to see if they’ll work for you. eBooks are usually cheaper than your physical textbooks, but it all comes down to student preference.
Check the library
For those who want to opt out of buying textbooks completely – check out the local, or even the school, library. Ask if you are able to check out the book, but however some libraries don’t permit people to checkout textbooks. So you may have to visit the library every time you need to study or reference the book.
Look for a scholarship
Another good option is applying for scholarships. Not only do scholarships help pay for tuition, but some scholarships offer to pay for your books as well. There are many scholarships that go unused – take a minute and browse the internet for some options.
Share with a classmate
If these many options don’t work for you, another one would be to ask a classmate to study together, or form a study group. That way you have access to the book while also having access to others to help you if needed.