Textbooks and other books can cost you up to $500-$800 a semester. This cost can get even higher if you are taking pure science and mathematics courses that always seem to require the highest priced and newest edition every semester. How can you lower your costs of textbooks? It's easy, but takes a little know-how and time.
There is nothing wrong with finding a deal when buying your books
Don't feel bad for finding a deal, especially if you are in college. And even if your textbooks are covered by a financial aid grant, scholarship, or student loans, it doesn't mean you can't save some of that money reserved for textbooks and use it for other things, like food, housing, and entertainment. Being broke means you've got to find ways to save.
Start looking for your books early
Most professors will have the required books listed on the course description when you first sign up for the class. If they don't, email them right after you sign up and ask what books you need for the class. Often professors just forget or are busy doing other things and haven't officially posted them yet.
The second you know what your books are that you need, start looking for them. Don't wait until the last minute. In fact, don't wait until a week before the class starts. Other students across the nation who need that book for their own classes will be doing the same thing as you, so you'll want to snatch up your copies early. Plus, publishers can get sneaky by raising the price of their textbooks depending on demand even a month before a class starts.
Looking for books at your college's bookstore
The first place you should look is your college's bookstore. Check for new and used copies to buy, but also check out the price to rent the textbook. Renting can be a good option if there isn't anywhere else you can find it.
Jot down the book title, ISBN number, edition, and price for each of the books you need. Then, take that information to compare prices online.
There are a multitude of online textbook retailers, including websites dedicated to textbooks, and also Amazon, eBay, and sometimes Craigslist. Look at them all to find the best price. Whichever website you choose to buy from, make sure that the book matches up exactly in terms of edition and ISBN number.
And remember, there is almost always nothing wrong with buying a used copy. So what the copy is bent, marked up, or has passages highlighted? You're going to do the same, and who knows, you may even find the previous student's notes helpful in your own studies.
Selling your books means more cash in your pocket
When the semester is over, it's time to sell your books. Why keep them? Unless you want to keep the book because you have another class coming up that needs the same book or truly plan on going back to read it, you might as well sell it. Likewise, as mentioned before, textbook editions often change, sometimes even twice in a year.
Selling the back to the college bookstore
Like buying your books, the college bookstore is the first place you want to look when selling your books. Even if you bought your books through a second party, college bookstores will often buy them back, and sometimes higher than what you could sell it for online. Like before, write down the titles of your textbooks and how much the bookstore will buy them for, and take your research online.
You can usually sell your textbooks where you bought them, and a lot of the times you can sell it for as much as you paid when you bought it. All this takes is setting up a sellers account on the website where you can get the highest price and linking your bank account information. It is really as simple as it seems. Sometimes your books might take a little while to sell, so be patient.
Selling to next semester's students
The last option is for you to sell your book to another student who is taking the class in an upcoming semester. Post up a flyer in your dorms and around campus. A lot of times you can sell it for a good amount to another student, who will be appreciative that they didn't have to buy one new.