Tips for Saving Money on College Textbooks

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Textbooks can be one of the greatest expenses for a college student. This article discusses how to find deals on college textbooks.

College textbooks constitute a considerable expense to students. According to a survey conducted by California Student Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG), the Oregon Student Public Interest Research Group (OSPIRG), and the OSPIRG Foundation, the average student attending the University of California (UC) spends $898 per year on new and used college textbooks. That number may seem outrageous, and students definitely feel the pinch. Here are some tips for saving some money on books.

Only Buy Required Books

Many professors have a list of recommended books along with their required ones. Start with the required books unless your professor instructs you otherwise. Many of the recommended books are for students who are interested in taking other classes on the subject to use as a reference book during the course. If you need a recommended book during the course, check to see if they have it at the library. If your library doesn't have it on the shelf, request that it be ordered for you. Remember, borrowing books from the library is free.

Buy Used Books Without Supplementary Material

Many books come with a variety of supplementary material like workbooks, CDs, and videos. Many professors don't use any of this supplementary material for their courses. Unfortunately, they often can't control what versions of the books that the bookstores order, which is why these packets are on the shelves. If you would like to purchase a book that includes a pack of supplementary material, ask your professor if the material is useful.

Buy Books From Other Students or Online Retailers

Buying college textbooks books from other students or online retailers may be able to save you several dollars. Now there are websites that allow students to sell their books directly to other students like Screw the Bookstores at You could look through your college's classified ads for students selling textbooks. There are also online retailers who specialize in college textbooks like Ecampus at or Book Byte at You may also buy books from major online retailers like Barnes and Noble at or Amazon at Amazon offers new books as well as used books.

Buying Used College Textbooks

These are just a few ideas for getting your books a little cheaper. When buying used college textbooks, check the quality of the book. If you're buying the book online and it is incredibly cheap, then it may be in poor condition. Shop around. If you're a bit lazy, you could use search engines like Cheapest Textbooks at or Campus Books at to do the shopping for you. Choose wisely and happy hunting! 2021.