Lana emailed in the following tip:
One of the ways that I survived the high costs of textbooks through my five years as an undergraduate was by using CampusBooks. The website was suggested to me by my dorm floor’s Resident Assistants in their “welcome” sheet, and saved me at least $200 each year.
CampusBooks allows you to enter the title, author, or ISBN of any book. It then compares the cost of the book between all online sources who stock the title. This makes it really easy to know where the best deal is.
Also, the breakdown shows previous editions, which are often much less expensive than the most current version of the book a professor requires. Many instructors are fine with students using older editions, but it’s always best to ask first.
On top of the initial savings that CampusBooks provides, the same database that shows how much you’d pay for the book is also available when you want to sell your textbooks back. Simply click “sell,” rather than “buy,” and enter the ISBN, title, or author. All of the online sources who I’ve sold books to have provided postage free labels for shipping, and paid at least 50% more than the campus locations.
One semester, I made back $90 of the $140 I’d spent on textbooks, simply by using this single website’s database! It certainly beats
paying $400 every four months for texts that the campus bookstores then pay $35 during buy-back season.
Plus, the money paid for books is already “gone” from my budget, so the money that I get from selling the books back gives some unexpected funds when things are always tightest. Having an extra $50-$120 at the end of the Fall term has made Christmas much more relaxed, and the extra money at the end of May has made a considerable difference in my Summer budget. -Lana
(Note: The link in this post is my referral link. Read our disclosure policy here.)