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Paying for College Textbooks and Study Guides

Updated on September 24, 2014

Books are another well-known expense of the college experience. Fortunately for you the college book store is not even remotely the only place you can find your books. Behold the following websites where you may find your book for less, either renting or buying:

www.half.com

www.amazon.com

www.chegg.com

These sites offer physical and electronic versions. My point is...shop around! You may find a used book that is a fraction of the cost of a new book, and you technically recycled! You can also potentially find an eBook. Or you can just rent a book and save money. Search Nook, Kindle, Google Play, and any other eBook site you can think of.


I want to go back to the mention above on renting books. Yes, you can do that. The last time I checked, Chegg.com was one website where you can save money by renting a textbook versus buying it. A quick Google search reveals a slew of these sites as compared to a few years ago when Chegg started the trend. Apparently textbook rental has really taken off....yet another way for students to save money. Renting a book can be great especially if you're the online student who likes to bust through your class early. You can rent the book, do the homework, study, then return the book. I believe rental periods vary. Shop around and see who has the best deal. Simply search "textbook rental" on Google and you will find several top sites.

Renting books is not practical for everyone. Some students need to pace themselves as the demands of life outside of class require consistent attention. Work, family, etc. also require your time. The last time I checked Chegg did not offer a rental period that covered my 12 week courses. That may have changed in the last few years. In these cases, buying the book may be the better option. Also, you may find the book at a cheaper purchase price than rental price.

Now....has anyone heard of the public domain? Show of hands. Hmmm....I guess not. You cannot forget this resource if you have a requirement for older books. Why? Anything published prior to 1923 has probably fallen into the public domain allowing you to access it for free. Also, anything that an author did not properly copyright also falls into the public domain. Try it first! You may get lucky.

Again, a show of hands. Who has heard of this thing called a library? They still exist. If you cannot get the book online, see if your local library has what you need. Not exactly an innovation, but perhaps you have not considered the library as a resource.

A final note is to search for your book on Google. It's that simple! You can find other sites that may have what you're looking for.

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