ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Get Cheap (or Free!) Textbooks -College Tips from a College Student

Updated on February 3, 2014

Textbooks can cost on average anywhere from $600-$1200 for students every semester. On top of tuition costs, textbooks can cost more than is covered by scholarships or college funds. Every College student has their secrets for saving on text books, but many first time students spend too much on books, and even experienced students can still spend more than they need to. Here is a collection of tips for saving on Textbooks (or even getting them free!) from 4 years of Textbook experiences!

4 ways to get Cheaper Textbooks

1. Rent: Sites like have begun renting textbooks as a way to help students save money. You can also rent textbooks from some University bookstores. Ask before you buy! Renting is not highly advertised in most bookstores, so you have to search for those books.

2. Find someone who previously took the class: See if any friends took the class last semester. If they did, see if they'll lend you the books for free. If not, offer to pay them for the books; typically a student selling back books to a store can only expect pocket change ($5-$30) for a textbook, so offer from $15-$40 for the book. That is still anywhere from 60-90% savings off traditional textbook costs for you, and can give your friend more back than the traditional college bookstore.

3. Share Textbooks with friends: Find a group of friends who are planning to take the same class, or who are in the same major. Buy the textbooks together, and take turns using the books. The only issue with this is scheduling time with the book. Plan at the beginning of the semester when each person will have a chance to use the book. I would recommended only 2-3 co-owners at a time. This way, you can save anywhere from 50%-66% on your textbooks, even off rentals. Make sure you do this with people you trust! If the book is for a demanding or difficult class, this may not be the best option for you as you may need more time with the book than you are able to allocate with multiple owners. Look up the class on to get a feel for the class before you decide on this option.

4. Work for your University Bookstore: If you want a part-time job, and you want cheaper books, work for your University Bookstore. Typically you will get around 10% off any textbook purchase as an employee discount, but some bookstores have added bonuses for student workers that include free Textbook loans. Typically you have to work at the bookstore for a specific period of time before you can get your books for free, but it is well worth it in the end. This is the option I recommend most to students!

Other Options:

- E-Books: I would not recommend this version, as many students can get frustrated with an electronic book. Students get used to highlighting and writing notes in real books, and e-books can't be sold back. But, there can be possible savings anywhere between 20-60% off regular textbooks.

- Buying from or E-bay: The only problem you may encounter with buying from these sites is minimal savings and additional transportation costs. Look for other options first.

Find An Option That Works For You

Many students end up doing a combination of the tips above. Getting your textbooks for free is every students goal, but if you can't do that, then determine the costs for each option and determine the cheapest option/combination of options. I know many students who rent most of their books, but still buy from their University Bookstore because specific books are cheaper or only offered there. Don't assume one option is better than another, and don't assume you can't get your books from other sources than your University Bookstore.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)