Guest post from Malia of Homemaking 911
Looking for ways to reduce college expenses? Don’t overlook the high expense of college textbooks. This year, my daughters have enrolled in classes that required books ranging from $4 to $300!
Considering that my two girls will purchase between 160-300 books before they complete college, this is an area we can are working hard to save in.
Here are a few ways we’ve found to save on textbooks:
1) Ask the school.
When you enroll them in a college, immediately ask around for the best ways to buy textbooks. Ask the school administrators, ask other students,and ask other parents.
Often colleges, and even sub-disciplines within college, will have Facebook groups where the students swap/buy/sell/loan textbooks to one another.
2) Price check or price match.
Check all the sites I’ve listed below, as well as the campus bookstore. If you find a cheaper price online, but need the book quickly, ask the local bookstore to price match. Many will.
3) Buy an older version.
Don’t assume you need the latest edition. Ask professors (or check the syllabus) to see if the newest edition is the only one allowed. If not, investigate whether you need the newest or not, depending on the changes.
4) Find out if the book is actually necessary.
In one online class, my daughter was “required” to buy an English textbook that was basically a style manual. Most of that information can be found quickly using a google search. She asked the instructor if she had to buy the $200 book, and he said no!
5) Shop early.
Prices change on textbooks. Buying books on the week class starts is going to cost you the most and give you the least selection. As soon as you get your book list, start checking and ordering.
6) Rent textbooks.
My daughter needed the newest edition for her Economics textbook — and it was over $300. Rather than buy it, we rented it from Amazon. Students on Amazon can get a FREE student PRIME account for six months (you’ll need to cancel at the end of 6 months, or you can get a discounted rate on a Prime account) — which means free two-day shipping.
7) Consider Kindle.
Depending on the book, your student’s learning style, and the rules from the school regarding in-class technology use, a Kindle book may work just fine. This will be particularly helpful for reading books, but less so for textbooks.
The downside is you can’t re-sell a Kindle ebook. You CAN, however, loan or borrow Kindle books from other Kindle owners.
8) Borrow from the school or a public library.
If you let them know you are using it for a class, the library may be willing to loan you books for longer than the usual borrowing period without requiring you to renew it. Also, if your library does not have the books you need, ask for inter-library loans.
9) Plan ahead.
If you know what classes your kids will be taking next semester or next year, ask the professor if they plans to keep the same edition. If so, start looking early. You can check websites, or ask people currently in those classes if you can buy or rent their textbooks for the following semester.
Want more textbooks savings?
Here are some websites to check:
- Better World Books
- Book Outlet
- Campus Book Rentals
- Book Renter
- Abe Books
- Cheap Textbooks
- Student 2 Student
- Book Finder 4 u
- All Bookstores
- Big Words
- Barnes And Noble
- Afford Book
- Bargain Book Mole
- Get Textbooks
Malia Russell is an author, teacher, conference speaker, and blogger at Homemaking 911. As the blessed wife to Duncan, and the mother of six children, she specializes in thrifty living and encouraging women in their roles as wives, homemakers, and home educators.
P.S. Check out this list of 20 Freebies for Students.