Get Your College Textbooks Cheaper Online

Cheap College Textbooks are Available Online

Buying college textbooks at the campus bookstore is so expensive, what can a college student do to save costs? Some college students only buy used books, other college students are able to reserve a copy from the college library and take it out for the whole semester and then there are enterprising students in the same class who get together to split the costs of a book and make copies or share the book. But let's face it, there are a limited number of used textbooks on sale at the campus bookstore and they sell fairly quickly. There's even a more limited number of textbooks available for borrowing at the campus library. Also, there aren't too many students who aren't keen on sharing textbooks, especially during exams.  Finding cheap college textbooks at the university store is a challenge.  Meanwhile making copies of textbook pages can be burdensome and can itself cost a small fortune. However, there are ways to be able to save on textbooks.

Students are finding that if they know the ISBN numbers of their textbooks they can use that to buy used and new textbooks online at a discount price. But why buy a book when you can rent one? There are companies who are willing to rent textbooks for a whole semester or even a shorter period of time. There are also some textbooks that are available as E-books and are much less expensive at that format. And then there is an adventurous group who may have international connections who are able to locate the same textbook for them but in another country at a much lower price.

Renting a Textbook

There are many colleges and universities who want to help their students get their textbooks cheap. As many as 500 schools have become part of a textbook rental program called Rent-a-Text made available through the campus bookstore. That's right, a college student can rent a textbook. Now why didn't anybody think of that before? If you can rent a car, you can certainly rent a textbook. Renting a textbook for a semester can save you as much fifty percent of the cost of a new textbook. But the campus bookstore is not the only place to rent a textbook, there are other textbook rental companies that a student can find online:

  • Chegg
  • BookRenter
  • CampusBookRentals
  • ECampus
  • TextbookRentals
  • Collegebookrenter
  • Barnes and Noble
  • TextbookStop

So it's definitely a good idea to get a headstart on the list and compare costs before renting. Before renting, compare costs and what the conditions are for renting. You don't want to rent a textbook from a place that requires you to send it back when you need it for exams.  Also an issue is that the condition of the rental book may not be optimal and you might get a copy that's worn out or has been written on.

Another hubber, Thranax, has a great hub on where a student can buy cheap textbooks online.

Buy Your Textbook Online at a Lower Cost

There are online resources that can help the student find out where they can get the best deals on textbooks. They are meta searchers similar to Kayak but for textbooks and can list where you can get a cheap textbook, new or used, at the lowest price:

  • Campusbooks
  • Bigwords
  • bookfinder
  • DealOz(dot)com
  • isbns(dot)net
  • AddAll

Websites that sell cheap new textbooks at discount or used textbooks are:

  • Half(dot)com
  • Amazon
  • Ebay
  • bn (Barnes and Noble website)
  • Borders
  • phatcampus
  • alibris
  • AbeBooks
  • CollegeBooksNow

Compare prices at various websites and include the shipping costs so that you can get the best prices. You might find some great savings as compared to the campus bookstore.

Book Sharing and Swapping

Students can register to share their book on the book sharing website Textbook Revolt and consequently get free textbooks. How it works is that the student agrees to give away their books in order get textbooks. The only thing they have to pay are the shipping costs.  This is one of the cheapest ways to acquire your textbook.

Students have also consulted Craigslist to see if there are students who are selling their used books or have gotten in touch with other students to swap textbooks. The website paperbackswap is not only a godsend for literature majors where they can find many books that they need for their courses but they can find others who are willing to swap all types of textbooks as well.


E Textbooks and E Books Available for Download

You may find many of the books in your English literature classes available for free at open source websites such as Project Gutenberg, Google Books, ManyBooks(dot)net, and FlatWorldKnowledge. The format may not be the same as the printed copies so it may be hard to follow along when the professor requires you to read pages 10-60 but you can easily find out that out from someone in the class regarding the corresponding pages.

If you are comfortable with reading textbooks digitally, you can download an E textbook for up to 75% off the bookprint price at CourseSmart and ebooks(dot)bfwpub(dot)com.

Buying International Editions is not a Good Idea

There are some college students who are able to buy the international editions of their textbooks at a much lower price. Keep in mind these books are not for sale in the US and the publishing companies are aggressive in protecting their American market and prosecuting those who bring international editions into the United States. 

There are so many resources when it comes to buying cheap textbooks online so don't hesitate to compare not only the price of the textbook but the shipping costs.

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Comments 9 comments

masmasika 6 years ago

College students need to read this article of yours. It will help them a lot to save more on text books. Great share.

nicomp profile image

nicomp 6 years ago from Ohio, USA

The international books are much cheaper than books for sale in the US, but they are much lower quality as well. They'll last for a quarter or two, but they aren't a good addition to a permanent library.

Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 6 years ago from The East Coast Author

Hi masmasika and nicomp. Wow, you guys are quick! Thanks for such a great response and your comments. It's much appreciated.

Ricky Daniel 6 years ago

I am compare textbooks and buy from , why do I go to many other websites. I have used it this semester. I was great

Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 6 years ago from The East Coast Author

Thanks for the tip Ricky Daniel.

brandrocker profile image

brandrocker 6 years ago

Good suggestions. With textbook prices going up every year, I believe you need to look for websites offering cheap textbooks. Besides, you can surely try out coupons for those website to get the maximum price benefit.

Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 5 years ago from The East Coast Author

Agreed brandrocker, when textbooks can cost just as much as the college subject, prices have become outrageous.

Drstabile profile image

Drstabile 4 years ago

This is good advice. Bookstores are trying to find ways to offer better deals (as it is their profit margins hang at a mere 22% on average for new textbooks) but it's slow going. In the mean time shopping online is one of the best alternatives. Voted up.

Flightkeeper profile image

Flightkeeper 4 years ago from The East Coast Author

Thanks for the pat, Drstabile.

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