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How to Spend Less of Textbooks

If you’re in college like me, you find that the costs of textbooks at your college bookstore is higher than what anyone who is in college could possibly afford. Colleges and textbook publishers jack-up the costs of textbooks as an extra way to make a profit for the university. Here are some ways you can avoid it.


Consider Renting Your Textbook

Renting your textbook through sites like Chegg can save you a ton of money especially if you don’t plan on reading the book after the class is over.

Buy it used on Amazon

This is the method that I used more often than not. Amazon is a great place to buy used books. For example, for my electronics class, the bookstore wanted $100.000 for a used copy of the book, while I got it on amazon in great condition for less than $5. The only difference? The one on amazon was softcover compared to the bookstore’s hardcover version. If you wish to spend less, see if you can find a softcover version of the textbook. Even then, Amazon used books for hardcovers is still cheaper than the bookstore. I ordered my Biophysics book that the bookstore wanted $120.00 for off amazon in better used condition for $35.

See if you need the book first

On the first day of class, ask your professor if the book is required; your professor will be honest with you. If you don’t need it, then don’t buy it. The best way to save money on textbooks is not to buy it at all if you don’t need it. I have had plenty of gen-ed and 400-level math classes that didn’t require the “recommended textbook.”


Buy from Other Students

Many universities have student-run Facebook groups for buying and selling books. Student will often offer you a great discount, they rather sell the book that was never opened by them to you at like $20 instead of selling it back to the bookstore that only offered them $4. Some students will also accept a trade.

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Written by Alex Forgue

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College Students majoring in Physics, political activist, and Editor and Founder of Merge Left.

Former organizer and Co-founder of College Students for Bernie.


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