How to Afford the High Price of College Textbooks

When I planned out my expenses upon heading off for colleges, I assumed I had thought of everything. Tuition was obvious, room and board was obvious, even having a little spending money to have fun was obvious. However, I did not adequately calculate how much money it would cost me to buy books each semester. The amounts can range up to the multiple hundreds of dollars, a price that is an especially large amount to poor college students.

So how can you afford the high price of many college textbooks? Fortunately, there are some things that you can do to help curb the expenses somewhat. Here are a few tips for saving on your college books:

– Buy used – At many bookstores (especially on campus), they will have a large, varied selection of used textbooks. They’re just as good as the new ones, with the same material as the new ones, (even though they might even have hardly been used), but they’ll be a lot cheaper. If possible, this is definitely a route you should try and go, because it will help save a lot of money with essentially no reduced convenience.

– Buy online – This might make you do a little more work, but you can save a lot of money by buying your books online from places like or They also have a large selection and different vendors to choose from. You have to check to make sure that you are getting the right book, but if you can find it online it will normally be a lot cheaper.

– Find friends who have taken the class – Many times you will be able to find friends who have taken the class in previous semesters and might be looking to sell their books. This is just like buying the book used… it will work just as well for the class and will come at a greatly reduced price (especially depending on how good the friend is!)

– Make sure you need the book – There has been more than one class in my college career where I bought the book before the class began, and then found out later that I wouldn’t actually need it at all. So always make sure that you will really need the book for the class, otherwise it can just be a waste of money. For many classes, there will be notes online, and the books will be superfluous.

These are just a few tips, certainly there are others (buying old editions, buying international editions, getting the books online, etc), but if you follow these tips, the prices that you pay for college textbooks will be much less steep, and will help you save at least a little bit of money.