July 31, 2013
College is an expensive endeavor, and after tuition, costs can add up quickly for room and board, textbooks and supplies, and other living expenses. Of course, there are ways to reduce costs for many of these items, and college students are adept at applying for scholarships and grants, working multiple jobs and reducing expenses.
When it comes to textbooks, however, it’s often hard for students to find discounts. Parents and students can spend hundreds of dollars each semester on required textbook materials. Most people traditionally shop at the campus bookstore, because it has all the needed materials handy. Fortunately, there are several options available to keep textbook costs down, and most of these money-saving resources can be found online.
* New textbooks – Sometimes a professor requires students to use a newly released edition of a book; other times students simply study better using clean copies of textbooks. Either way, students will spend the most money on new books with no highlighting or folded pages. However, purchasing these books online can help reduce the cost. Just be sure to double check the book’s ISBN number with the number provided by your professor to make certain you purchase the correct book.
* Used textbooks – The on-campus bookstore might not have used copies available. Turn to online sites to find many options for used copies. Make certain the store you’re using has quality ratings for the textbooks and a fair return policy in the chance your purchase needs to be exchanged.
* Digital textbooks – This trend is growing in popularity as more students have e-readers or tablets. Amazon and many other online stores make digital textbooks available for purchase, or students can rent them for a limited time. Before you make any purchases online, visit FatWallet.com first for textbook coupons, discounts and the bonus of cash back savings from more than 15 book stores.
* Renting textbooks – Spending less money by renting textbooks is quickly becoming a popular option for students. And coupon sites like FatWallet and Ebates.com offer opportunities to earn cash back on rentals from online stores like Chegg.com, Amazon, Alibris and Textbooks.com. Some universities are also starting to offer rental services. Be sure to keep your book in excellent condition per the rental agreement you have with the company you choose to use.
* Selling textbooks – Once the class is over and you receive a satisfactory grade, you may be ready to get rid of the textbook. If you kept the book in excellent condition, you can try and sell it back to the campus bookstore. Or research online websites like Barnes & Noble, eBay or eCampus.com that offer textbook purchasing services – often with better prices. Some campuses also have book buying clubs that allow students to sell their textbooks to other students.
Saving money is the name of the game when you’re a college student, and with these tips for finding better prices for purchasing – and selling back – textbooks, you’ll be ahead of the class in keeping money in your pocket.