How to Buy or Rent Cheap Textbooks

Buying new and used textbooks on-line is a great way to find cheap textbook prices but there are a few basics.

* Order your books EARLY !

* Make sure the book you are looking at is the correct version or release by using the ISBN to verify. Check out the campus bookstore; this will establish your local maximum price, plus you can get the ISBN confirmed.

* Ask your professor if an older version is OK. It could be as much as half the price. Don’t go back more than one edition. Use the index to find the information in your previous edition when the instructors tell the students with the new (expensive) book what pages to read.

* There is no suggested retail price on used discount textbooks, so shop around. However, used textbook inventories change quickly, so use a real-time quick comparison tool like to create a list of the lowest priced sources. Update the search daily as inventories change.

* Buying from individuals on marketplaces like may be cheapest but look at the location of the seller and shipping methods offered. Media Mail can take two weeks from coast to coast. Follow up after the purchase to make sure it has been shipped.

* Check the bulletin boards at school for used book ads or buy used books from students in the classes ahead of you. Watch for or organize textbook swap parties.

* Consider the resale value as you use the book. Textbook care affects its condition and resale value. Reduce overall cost by maximizing resale value.
* Put you book on the market ASAP after finals. Don’t jump the gun and list too early; most services require you to ship the book within two days of its sale.

* Look into renting your textbooks. It means you have to promptly ship the text book back at the end of the course but the prices are very good. Check out the two leaders – Chegg and CampusBookRentals

Caution: If you decide to rent your textbooks there are some additional rules and items to consider.

1) Most important – don’t lose your book. You will find yourself paying both the rental and the replacement cost.

2) Don’t return it late – if they can not re-rent it the rental company losses big time and there late fees can get very expensive.

3) Compare prices – with over a dozen big name sites offering rentals be sure to compare the prices and shipping. A price comparison tool that focuses on textbook rentals. makes this job easier.

4) Read the terms and conditions – don’t just check the box that says you read it, Read IT! This is a 4 month contract that covers what you can and CANNOT do with the book.