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How to Keep Your Textbook Costs Down this Semester

By Christine Ascher

An unfortunate truth of being a college student is that you’ll be spending a lot of money on your education. From tuition to living costs to the cost of school supplies, most students will want to find any chance that they can get to save some money. One potential major source of savings through your textbooks.

Textbooks are expensive, and having to purchase new ones every semester means that they can get quite pricey. However, there are some ways that you can keep the costs of your textbooks down. If you’re looking for a way to save some money this semester, check out the following tips for keeping your textbook expenses down.

Rent Instead of Buying

One easy and convenient way to keep the costs of your textbooks from getting out of hand is by renting your textbooks, rather than purchasing them. Usually, your university bookstore will give you the option of renting or buying your books.

You can also find books at good prices by using Textsurf. In addition to being cheaper than buying, renting books also has the added bonus that you won’t have to worry about how to get rid of your books at the end of the semester, as you’ll be returning them anyway. This is a great option for textbooks that you know you won’t want to keep.  

Share with a Friend

Another way to prevent yourself from spending too much on your textbooks this semester is by sharing them with a friend in the same class. While this can be tricky, as you’ll have to work out a system for you and your friend for when you’ll each be able to use the book, it’s a great way to get the cost of your books down. As you’ll only have to pay for half of the book, you’ll get some significant savings this way.

Make sure, however, that if you’re going to share, you choose to do so with a friend who is reliable and responsible, as you don’t want to get stuck having to pay a replacement fee because the book gets lost, or get into a situation where you’re unable to study because your friend isn’t picking up their phone.

Find an Online Version

Fortunately, nowadays you can find many of the textbooks that you’ll be using for class online. If you’re okay with not having a physical copy of your textbook, check online to see if you can find a version to download. While electronic copies of your textbooks still won’t be free in most cases, you can still find some savings this way.

In addition, you may find that you can purchase individual chapters of your textbook, which means that you’ll only have to buy the sections of the book that you know you’ll be using—a great way to keep textbook costs down. Another plus of finding an electronic copy of your textbook is the fact that you won’t have to carry a heavy book around when you’re going to class or going to the library to study, so you’ll have some added convenience in addition to your savings.

Check Out Local Used Bookstores

When purchasing your textbooks for the semester, rather than going straight to your university bookstore, try instead going to some local used bookstores. In college areas, used bookstores often stock textbooks for courses offered at the local school, so there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to find some of your books there.

Because the books will be used, and because the prices at used bookstores tend to be lower than those offered at university bookstores, this is a great way to find some savings. While you may not have as many options as you would at your school’s bookstore, used bookstores are still well worth checking out, as you may stumble on some huge savings.

Use Social Media to Find Good Deals

Another great tactic for keeping your textbook costs down is by using social media to find good deals. Often at the beginning of a semester, students will be trying to get rid of textbooks that they’ve had to purchase in the past, so they’ll advertise the books on social media.

You’ll find that students typically tend to charge you less money than you would find at your university bookstore or online, as they’re trying to offer a more competitive price. As a result, as long as you can find a student who has taken some of the courses that you’re enrolled in, you have a great chance of saving some money on your books.

The cost of textbooks can be a huge expense for a college student, especially as it’s one that you have to incur every semester. For a savvy spender, it’s important to get a bit creative to find the best deals on your books, so the cost doesn’t get out of control. Fortunately, by using some of the tactics above, you can find major savings on your books this year.