Shop Smart for Textbooks

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Shop Smart for Textbooks

College expenses can add up quickly. By the time you pay for tuition, room and board, and a meal plan – it can be a strain on your wallet to add the cost of textbooks too.

Since most colleges and universities have an on-campus bookstore, it can be easy to forget that it’s not the only place you can purchase or rent textbooks. Help cut down on your costs each semester by getting your textbooks somewhere else. We've compiled a list of alternatives that can help you save on textbook costs.


Most students will only need a textbook for one semester, which is why we love rental resources like Chegg, Campus Books and Amazon. These companies allow students to rent a textbook for a semester at a fraction of the cost. The books are shipped to you and include hassle-free returns at the end of the semester.

An added benefit is that these companies often include study materials for tough assignments and tests, including flashcards, chapter reviews and quizzes.

Visit the Library

Most college campuses have a library with thousands of books and e-books that are regularly used in classes. Check your library’s catalog before renting or buying a textbook. If you’re going to be studying there anyway, you might as well just use the book while you’re there – you might even be able to check it out and take it home to study for a week or two. Another option is to use your student printing credits to print some of the specific pages or chapters you need for assignments. 

Public Book Domain

Before purchasing or renting any books, check Project Gutenberg, an online e-book library where you can download books or read them online at your convenience. Because of copyright laws, books published prior to 1964 are now in the public domain, which means they are completely free for public use. Your budget will thank you!

Share with Classmates

Do you know anyone who has taken the class before?  Ask them if you can borrow or purchase their textbook from them at a reduced price. Many students toss their books aside at the end of the semester, never to be opened again. You might get lucky!

Shop Online

For many, online shopping is the go-to method for clothes, electronics, makeup, and even groceries. So it’s no surprise that websites like Amazon, eBay, or even Facebook Marketplace can help you find used textbooks at a fraction of the cost.

Shopping online also provides an easy resource to find older editions of the textbooks you’ll need, which are often a lot cheaper than the newest edition that your professor requires.

Before going to the campus bookstore with your list of required texts, make sure to utilize outside resources first. Nervous about an older edition? Talk to your professor and ask them if an older version would be acceptable – most of the time, the answer is yes!

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