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Avoid School Stores: Buy Your Textbooks For A Better Price

By Amanda Cohen

Textbooks are expensive AF. Period. There’s no way around it…

Okay, I’m being dramatic. Yes, textbooks are ridiculously expensive, but there is a way around it. When you went on your university’s college tour, they showed you the most beautiful dorm room on campus, the amazing gym, and, of course, the school store, which may as well be a thief in the knight trying to steal money from your purse. The school store may trick you into believing that they are giving you a deal, with the various options they offer—i.e. paperback, rentals, or electronic textbooks—but they are still way too expensive. Between tuition, housing costs, furniture, clothing, school supplies, and food expenses, there is not always much leftover for textbooks. Plus, why would you pay the overly inflated price when there are more reasonable options out there for your textbook purchasing needs. If you don’t know where to find cheaper textbooks, don’t worry, I got you. Don’t be the person who helps promote the school store’s unbelievable (in the worst way possible) prices. Be the person who shops smart and, in return, studies smart.

Textsurf.com

I know. It seems a little too good to be true with a website called Textsurf.com, but the website exists and it is absolutely fantastic. You can buy, rent, or sell textbooks using their website, and they allow you to track textbook prices, too, so you can watch and buy at the lowest price! The website makes it easy to compare textbook prices without having to go to multiple sites, including Amazon, Chegg, ValoreBooks, and more. Textsurf is basically the search engine you need to find your textbooks at the cheapest prices, and no school store has that so Textsurf: 1 and school store: 0.

Amazon

I love Amazon, so of course, I’m going to make a plug for them. Whether you have a regular Amazon account, your own Prime account, your parent’s Prime account, or a student-discounted Prime account, you cannot go wrong. The beauty of Amazon is that it offers textbooks from various sellers that offer your textbook in a plethora of forms—hardback, paperback, Kindle-version, electronic, loose-leaf version, and more. You can rent and/or purchase all of your textbook needs. You can even get a great deal on textbooks while getting them in two days or less FOR FREE!

eBay

eBay is great for used items, which means that if you buy your textbooks off of eBay, you are likely to get a great deal. I never used eBay myself, but my friends who did had pretty great experiences. Similarly, to Amazon, eBay is composed of different sellers who sell textbooks at varying, but much more reasonable, prices. People sometimes think that eBay can be sketchy, I was one of those people, but it works out great and you aren’t paying $250 for one silyl paperback textbook that you’re only going to use once in your college career.

Chegg.com

Chegg is every college student’s dream website. They sell textbooks, offer tutoring programs, sell study guides, offer online tutoring, and help with internship search.

Chegg should become your go-to website, if you’re a college student, as it is basically a one-stop-shop for all of your academic needs. The beauty of Chegg’s textbooks feature is that it allows you to rent/buy textbooks, but it also helps you sell your textbooks when you are finished with them. They even have a 21-day return policy if your textbook comes and it doesn’t meet your standards, or if you drop the class you originally needed it for.

Your Peers

After you got into your university, you were probably added to a “University X Class of 20-something” Facebook group. These groups may seem strange, but they serve a great purpose: selling and buying textbooks. Why buy from a website and deal with shipping and returns when you could just buy from a fellow student? Students usually just want to get the textbook off of their hands, so you will definitely get a good price for it. However, unlike companies like Amazon, students don’t take returns, so if you do go this route, make sure you don’t end up dropping the class of something of that nature. You can also use your Facebook groups and other social media outlets to sell your textbooks to other students… it truly is a beautiful cycle. I bet some freshman Michigan student has my chemistry textbook from freshman year… it’s kind of sweet!

Only go to the school store if you need something in a pinch… do not feed into their overpriced agenda. You already have to pay a large sum of tuition, why give the University even more money? You know when people say “study smart,” well, the same thing can go for textbook shopping: “Shop smart!”