If you are in college, you need to know how to save money on college textbooks so you won’t waste your hard-earned cash or have to take out more student loans just to pay for expensive books. With the average college student spending over $1200 a year on textbooks alone, it’s important to find any way you can to shave these costs down.
Thankfully, there are a number of different ways you can save money in college by learning how to get textbooks for less. Check out these key tips to save on textbooks — you may even find out how to get free college books so you can cut your spending down to nothing.
1. Use your university library
As soon as school starts, make a list of your books and see which ones are available at your library or via intra-library loan. You may be able to get a textbook that you can check out, but often textbooks that are actively being used in courses are put on reserve and can be available only for a short-term loan. You would have to go to the library to get your reading done if the book is on reserve, but if you really want to get free college books, this could be your best option.
2. Arrange a book swap
You and your friends probably take different classes at different times. Of course, you could sell your books back to the college when you’re finished with a class – but often, you will get just pennies on the dollar. Instead, consider arranging a book swap so you can swap your textbooks from prior semesters for the books you need for your current courses. This is another great way to get free college books, which is always a big benefit if you’re trying to save money in college.
3. Make use of free books online
If you’re taking an English course, you may have to read a lot of old literature. Many of these books are probably not copyrighted any more and are available at places like Project Gutenberg. All of the books in this library of around 43,000 classics are totally free so once again, you could do more than just save on textbooks– you could get the books for no money at all.
4. Share books with classmates
If you and a classmate have different study schedules, you may be able to buy one book and split its cost. Just make sure you have a clear plan for who will use the book at specific times and for how the book will be shared when you are both trying to study for midterms and final exams. You don’t want your efforts to save on textbooks to accidentally hurt your academic performance because you are left without enough time to study.
5. Use an outdated edition of the book
In many cases, the book that is one version back from the most current version will cost significantly less than the absolute newest version of the textbook. In the vast majority of cases, text books do not change that much from one edition to the next one. This means you can often get away with buying a slightly outdated book and you can save a lot of money doing it. To make sure that the book is similar enough to the newest version, compare the indexes of both copies and confirm that they cover the same basic material. The page numbers probably will not match up exactly, but you should still be able to determine if you’ll be able to do the reading. If there are a few changes to the new version that aren’t in the old one, you can always go to the library just to take a look at those parts of the book during the week when that particular reading is assigned.
6. Rent your textbooks
There are many different services where you can rent text books for a fraction of the cost of buying them new. There are websites you can check out to find these book rental sites that are aimed at helping you to save money in college by spending less on your books. Your school may also have options for book rentals as well, if you’d prefer to look into local options.
7. Obtain electronic versions of your textbooks
You may be able to spend less by using an e-version of the textbook that your professor has assigned you to read. In some cases, you could also use Kindle’s lending library or other online lending libraries to get an electronic copy of the book at no cost. Just make sure you understand the rules if you borrow your book because you don’t want your loan to run out right before exam time when you cannot easily get your hands on another copy.