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11 Ways to Save on Textbooks

School is starting to become a thought at our house. Zac will be starting college in three weeks. He researched and looked for the best deal on his textbooks. It was insane how much textbooks cost! The excitement of using the books sometimes creates poor decision making.

Zac is anal and wants everything in place long before the big day. He will be renting one book he has had no luck in finding. Today all his other textbooks arrived. He spent some good quality time with them!

Textbook prices tend to rise at four times the rate of inflation for an average of $900 per year. It doesn’t take a college education to figure out there are alternatives to traditional outlets, but incoming first-year students don’t always know the ropes. Here are 11 ways to save this fall — none of which include shopping at the college bookstore.

1. Wait Until After You’ve Seen the Syllabus
Professors must submit their textbook lists far in advance of the next semester, which means they may never require you even open the book. Talk with your professor in the first few days to determine whether it’s worth shelling out cash for something that may become a paperweight.

2. Rent, the Netflix of textbooks, started a trend several years ago by allowing students to rent their books. You’ll pay roughly half the purchase price, and shipping is often free. Other similar dealers include and

3. Watch Daily Deals
The aforementioned Chegg announced in late May they’d begin offering daily deals targeted at college students. Scheduled to start in July, the program will begin with offerings from HP, Capital One, MTV, Microsoft and Dr. Pepper. Also, keep an eye out for offers tailored to students by location — possibly even your local bookstore.

4. Buy Used Textbooks
Used textbook companies have proliferated, and even traditional booksellers now both buy and sell used textbooks. The selection has greatly increased, and the prices are far superior to exorbitant college bookstores. Check out,, and

5. Download
Few classes require students read every page of a textbook, so why not download the necessary portion from such websites as CourseSmart.Comand Open Courseware from MIT? Project Gutenbergalso has scanned in hundreds of free domain books for use on e-readers.

6. Don’t Purchase the Whole Package
Federal regulations no longer allow publishers to combine textbooks with add-ons, such as CD-ROMs and workbooks. Check with your professor or teaching assistant before you buy the whole bundle.

7. Buy Online
If you want to own a new book, buying online physically often means free shipping and reduced prices. Grab a coupon code and shop online at new textbook sellers like,, and

8. International Or Older Versions
Non-traditional editions are usually significantly cheaper. There may be some slight changes, but many of these tend to be cosmetic or minor and won’t greatly impact use.

9. Share
If you carpool, you know the advantage of splitting the cost of high-ticket expenses. Sharing is easier if you’re in the same study group and see each other frequently.

10. Swap
Some schools now hold swap meets, where students can trade their old textbooks for the ones they’ll need next year.

11. Compare Prices
You wouldn’t buy a Porsche without shopping around, so do the same with textbooks. Websites such as,, and make the process much easier.


About Julee: Julee Morrison is an experienced author with 35 years of expertise in parenting and recipes. She is the author of four cookbooks: The Instant Pot College Cookbook, The How-To Cookbook for Teens, The Complete Cookbook for Teens, and The Complete College Cookbook. Julee is passionate about baking, crystals, reading, and family. Her writing has appeared in The LA Times (Bon Jovi Obsession Goes Global), Disney's Family Fun Magazine (August 2010, July 2009, September 2008), and My Family Gave Up Television (page 92, Disney Family Fun August 2010). Her great ideas have been featured in Disney's Family Fun (Page 80, September 2008) and the Write for Charity book From the Heart (May 2010). Julee's work has also been published in Weight Watchers Magazine, All You Magazine (Jan. 2011, February 2011, June 2013), Scholastic Parent and Child Magazine (Oct. 2011), Red River Family Magazine (Jan. 2011),, and more. Notably, her article "My Toddler Stood on Elvis' Grave and Scaled Over Boulders to Get to a Dinosaur" made AP News, and "The Sly Way I Cured My Child's Lying Habit" was featured on PopSugar. When she's not writing, Julee enjoys spending time with her family and exploring new baking recipes.
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