6 brilliant ways to save money on textbooks

By Danielle Goodman

We've all been there. Paying a fortune for your textbooks, then only getting a fraction of it back at the end of the semester. Here are six ways to fight back and save money on your textbooks.

1. Go to the first class before you buy

In some classes, the reading is mandatory. Professors may lecture on only half the material they'll test you on, and expect you to learn the other half by reading the textbook. In other classes however, professors view the book as a supplemental source — something just to clarify their lectures if you have any questions. The best thing to do is to wait to buy the books for a class until you've attended the first day and received the syllabus. This will give you a pretty good idea of how relevant the book will be, and you can determine then whether or not you'll need to buy the book. 

2. Borrow them from the library

The library should have at least one copy of your textbook that you can check out for hours, or longer. Not only is it free, but it's actually a pretty good way to trick yourself into studying. If you always have the textbook laying around, it’s easy to fall into, Well, I’ll just watch one more episode, then I’ll start studying, for all of eternity. But if you only have access to the book for a short time, you’ll be more motivated to utilize that time well, leading to a more efficient and effective study session.

3. Ask Yik Yak

You want to save money. Your classmates want to get more money selling their textbooks. If only there was a way for the people with the supply to get in touch with the people with the demand ... oh, yeah — Yik Yak! The college chat app is a great way to ask the student body for help, and to find someone who’s taken the class already and is still holding onto their book because they couldn’t bare the injustice of selling their $300 textbook back to the bookstore for only 40 bucks. You save more money, they get more money. You'll probably just want to meet in a public place.

4. Buy used

The sweat, tears, and Cheez-It crumbs occasionally found in used copies make for a cheaper version of the textbook. You might get lucky — the previous owner may have been a serious slacker who didn’t even crack the spine. Used books provide the same knowledge, but at a better price. 

5. Consider e-books

E-books are up to 53% cheaper than their new print versions. As an added bonus, using digital textbooks means you don't have to carry heavy books to and from your favorite study spot, since they're conveniently located on your laptop or tablet.

6. Compare prices

As with any big purchase, it's better to shop around for the best deal before buying the product. Our textbook price comparison tool compares textbook prices among several sellers, including Chegg and Amazon, and shows you the cheapest options for both buying and renting. No need to research textbook prices to find the best deal, we'll do the work for you.

Textsurf textbook comparison screenshot
Textbook price comparison on Unigo

Know more ways to save money on textbooks? Share them with us in the comments below!