Friday, July 20, 2012

Frugal Fridays: Save Money on Textbooks

I'm so excited to get to share about one of my favorite saving tips for students, that is: saving money on textbooks.  I've been waiting to post about this until textbooks for classes were actually released, and now that they are, it's time for me to share :)
One of the most important steps to getting a great deal on textbooks is to search early so you aren't pressed for time and have time to look around for the best deal, and because you won't need to pay rush shipping or risk having to borrow someone else's book every day for the start of the semester.

Here's what shopping for school books looks like for me:
For whatever reason my school has a website that pretty much just gives you the name and image of the book, so I have to super blow up the image just to be able to tell which edition it is.  I then go to Amazon textbook store and look up the book, as their interface is clearest, and it's a good site to price compare to, especially if you have Amazon Student and get free shipping.
 Once I’ve looked up the book on Amazon I normally grab the ISBN number from the page and then  look up the number on my three of favorite books stores:, abebooks, and  Bookbyte.combookbyte.  I used to just google them but have noticed that these three seem to have the best prices, and so just go straight through them.
I normally give myself at least 20 minutes to price compare for each book, as I’ve found it worth my time, so be a little patient if you can.
Once I make my decision, buy it and have it shipped to school, so that it can meet me there on my first week.

I personally have read about the great option of “renting” books.  While this might save money compared to buying the book at retail price at your school, I’ve never found it to be worth it to me, because often if you can get the book cheap enough, you can sell it back to Amazon or through a user-based website and make back almost all of your money.  I also find the same problem with ebooks because they have no inherent value to you after the semester is over.  That said, you might be able to find cases where these are a better value, but take time and do the math, please don’t just assume that these two options are cheaper. (If you do want to check out an ebook I recommend

Other money saving note: some of my professors give homework that is not from the book and in class will tell us that an older edition is fine.  It’s probably worth your time to just send a quick email asking if this is also true for whatever class you are taking,as that could end up saving you at least $50 if not more.

1 comment:

  1. Such great advice. I've also had good luck on half dot com, and always wait to see how much the prof actually requires the textbook. In some of my major electives I've shared books with classmates.