The One Place You Shouldn't Get Your Textbooks and 5 Places You Should

Unfortunately, no matter how you slice it, buying college textbooks add up quickly. You’re in college for a long time, and you need new books all the time. For some students, this is a huge financial challenge when it comes to high education. Luckily, there are ways you can cut this expense if you’re willing to do a little digging. We’ve found some sites that can help you save money on college textbooks.

Your campus bookstore shouldn’t be your first stop for textbooks if you can help it. College bookstores almost always charge full price for books, and if you’re buying even just two books you could easily spend hundreds of dollars. Instead, if you can, take a little extra time to check out some of these websites to see if you can find a cheaper alternative.

girl looking at books

1. Amazon

Is there anything Amazon can’t do? They have a huge selection of college textbooks, so chances are they’ll have the one you’re looking for. Amazon Marketplace allows users to sell their books used, and Amazon helps guarantee their condition, so you can get a decently nice book for less money. Plus, Amazon Prime ships usually in two days, (and they have a student discount!) so if you’ve procrastinated your book buying, you’ll be able to recover pretty quickly.

2. Alibris

Alibris specializes in older and out of print books, which won’t be helpful every time, but could definitely come in handy if your professor assigns an older edition of a book, or if you want an original translation of something. Campus bookstores will likely stock these kinds of books if a professor assigns them, but Alibris is a good resource to find them for a little less money.

stacks of books

3. Campus Book Rentals

If you have to buy a book for a general education class in a subject you don’t like, or you know you don’t like saving books after the class is over, textbook rental might be the thing for you. Campus Book Rentals will rent you the book for the length of your term, whatever that length is, and let you return it at the end. Renting books is generally cheaper than buying them, and you get the added bonus of not having to store or move a book you really didn’t want to keep.

4. Student2Student

Student2Student is kind of like eBay, but just for textbooks. You can list your book on the site or search for the one you’re looking for, and then you deal directly with the seller. Once you find what you’re looking for, you can meet the seller right on your college campus, eliminating shipping wait times and fees. Plus, you’ll meet people on your campus that you have common interests with, and you’ll be helping out a fellow broke college student.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed at the idea of researching websites like these, you aren’t alone. There’s a lot of internet out there, and only so much time.

stacks in library

5. Textbooks.com & Chegg

These two sites do all that legwork for you. You just search for the book you’re looking for, by title or IBSN number, and they catalog all the sites that are selling that book, and for how much. Then you can shop around a little without shopping around; all your options are in one easy list, and you can pick the cheapest option.

We know that buying books can be expensive and daunting, and as the start of the semester approaches people are starting to get nervous. But, if you’re willing to do a little looking, you’ll be able to find your books for less.