Best Ways to Save on Textbook Price and Weight

Best Ways to Save on Textbook Price and Weight

One of the biggest costs for students—besides tuition—comes from textbooks. But as education moves in a more technologically savvy direction, textbooks are fast becoming the way of the past.

Research Ahead of Time: Go to your college bookstore with your course list in hand, and write down the ISBN and price of each book. This'll come in handy when you search for cheaper versions elsewhere.

Photocopy: This is a time-consuming method, but very cost-efficient. Borrow the books from the library and head to a Staples not too close to your school, and photocopy everything you need.

Used Book Stores: Schools tend to have textbook stores close to them that carry the same books, but for less. You probably won't be able to find great savings, but a couple bucks here and there adds up.

Another option to try is a general used bookstore, especially if you're taking an English class. Why spend $30 on a brand new copy of King Lear when used bookstores sell it for $1?

Websites: Before you commit to buying a stack of books and lugging them home, consider sites like Amazon, AbeBooks, Craigslist or TextBooksNow to shop with ease.

Book-Share: If you can gather a few classmates together and agree to buy each book as a group, you'll only have to spend a fraction of the total cost. To ensure everyone always gets access, either take pictures of the pages with a smartphone, or photocopy what you need.

Google and Gutenberg: Depending on the title and year of publication, you can find anywhere from pages to the whole book free on Google.

Project Gutenberg, on the other hand, takes out-of-copyright books and makes them free and available in a variety of ways (e.g. through smartphone apps, scanned in libraries, and online.)

Rent: Schools are increasingly jumping on the rental wagon, with about a half dozen sites (Rent-A-Text, BookRenter, CampusBookRentals, ECampus, Textbookrentals, and Chegg) offering up their services.

Wait: Go to class a couple of times and see if the books on the course list are actually being used. If not, you may be able to get away without buying them at all, buying older or international versions, or Googling a particular section for the next class.

Library E-Books: Libraries are finally twigging onto the fact that students don't always want to make the trek out there and lug home pounds and pound of books. Instead, they're starting to scan more books and make them available once you login. And if you have friends at other colleges, try their library sites, too.

Buying books for college doesn't have to be an expensive affair if you go about it smartly. Follow these tips, and save yourself hundreds of dollars.