Whether you’re starting your first year of college or preparing for your next semester, the burden of funding your education can be overwhelming.
You spend a lot of time and effort trying to find ways to fund your education, including apply for scholarships, filling out the FAFSA and taking out student loans. So seeing all that money up and vanish in the first week due to increased textbook prices is defeating. You need your money to last all semester long.
The seemingly never-ending list of fees can quickly feel insurmountable. Fortunately, there is a way to save large amounts of money by using alternative sources for textbooks beyond the campus bookstore.
In this blog post, we outline ten options for purchasing used textbooks that could save you hundreds, even thousands of dollars.
Though there are drawbacks to purchasing used textbooks (ex: missing supplemental materials like CD’s) the savings will often offset the cost of purchasing these additional items separately.
This home of over 10 million textbooks markets itself as the largest selection of used textbooks online. With free shipping on orders over $25 and up to 90% off the cover price, Textbooks.com also provides a hassle-free 30 day return period.
The company sells new and used books as well as ebooks, and a guaranteed 50% buyback if you’re in the market to sell them your previously owned books.
An educational hub for today’s student, Chegg is a longstanding online retailer that specializes in all things college. Students can search by author, title or ISBN number for textbooks and ebooks.
With students at the forefront of everything they do, Chegg provides a free online copy of textbooks while your book ships.
They also offer 24/7 online tutoring, internship programs and deals with local vendors near your college campus.
It seems obvious, but Amazon is a great resource for students looking for affordable textbook options.
They even offer students with a university email address a free six month trial of Amazon Prime, which means your book (plus thousands of other items) will be shipped within two days at no cost; a helpful freebie that costs extra on other sites.
More than just a used textbooks site, the Abebooks marketplace has millions of cheap secondhand books, including affordable options for students.
Students have been using Abebooks for years to get discounts of up to 75% off the cover price, helping them minimize the rising costs of college education.
Abebooks offers prices so low they rival the rental costs of major sites like Chegg and Campusbookrentals.com.
Most options are the International edition – so they may contain slightly different examples compared to the U.S versions – but there are not usually major differences.
This is an interesting site designed to help students decide whether they should purchase a used book or rent one. They also offer a local library inventory feature that will indicate if the textbook you need is available to borrow at a library near you.
Founded in 1999, CampusBooks.com also offers the option to sell your books for fair prices to recoup some of your expenses.
Though the site does not have an option to search by ISBN, the customer service team will help you find what you’re looking for – and the books are always in good condition.
While mostly known for their ability to find rare or out of print books, Bookfinder.com also offers students the option to search for required texts using ISBN, author or title names.
Though they do not store books themselves, the site has a powerful search engine that will point students in the right direction of the best quality books available online.
A registered Better Business Bureau company, SellBackYourBook.com is a trusted online resource where students can resell their purchased books and buy/rent previously used textbooks.
Simply enter your ISBN into the search bar and you will instantly find results for the books in stock.
If you’ve already purchased textbooks, SellBackYourBook.com offers some of the highest bids for buying them back. Depending on where you live, the turnaround from mailing your book to receiving the funds can range from five to 21 days.
Save $5 off your first purchase by texting BOOK to 87955 and receive free shipping on orders over $35 with this long time retailer of used textbooks.
Unlike most of the sites on this list, ecampus.com has a loyalty program that allows students to collect points to put towards future purchases, saving you even more money in the long term.
The site also features a marketplace where users can purchase books directly from the seller, and ebook options in case you waited a little too long to order your book and need it right away.
Not known for selling textbooks in their stores, Barnes and Noble may be a surprise to find on this list – but that is because Barnes and Noble Online sells used textbooks!
Note: We’d avoid their rental program as there are better sites offering rental rates with better return policies and free shipping.
However, their online selection of used textbooks is great and rivals that of some companies exclusively in the business of college textbooks.
Their competitive rates can range to up to 90% off cover prices; just order them in advance because shipping can be slow.
The last entry on this list is a great resource for older textbooks. Though their selection of newer textbooks is limited compared to others on this list, their pricing for the books they do carry is low enough that we chose to include them.
They also feature some of the lowest shipping costs around, with most items costing $3.95 to ship.
ValoreBooks.com also has a decent rental program and return policy, so you can feel confident doing business with this smaller retail site.
So there it is, 10 options for purchasing used textbooks.
Remember, there are many places to buy your books besides your college campus, and doing so could save you hundreds of dollars.
We encourage all of our readers to check out some of the options on this list and check out other ways to stretch a tight student budget.
We hope these resources will reduce some of the stress associated with your education.