Budget Student's Guide to College Textbooks

College Textbooks

By The Editors

College students and their parents are right to bellyache about tuition, which is rising faster than both the average American’s household income and the Consumer Price Index. But even after students get to college, the fees keep on coming. Buying textbooks, in particular, is becoming more and more painful.

According to U.S. PIRG, the average student spends $900 a year on college textbooks. And prices aren’t going to improve anytime soon. The Wall Street Journal recently reported that textbook prices have gone up twice as fast as inflation over the past 20 years. Translation: if this year was bad, next year’s likely to be worse.

Fortunately, there are some simple ways to dramatically reduce the price you pay for college textbooks. But students don't always know how easy it can be to save on books—or they don't try to find deals until after they've gotten that first credit card bill from the campus bookstore.

You can start saving before you set foot in a college classroom if you know the lay of the land. Hunting for deals may take a little more thought than just loading up at the campus store, but it's usually well worth the effort. Think of it this way: if you expect to spend $900 a year on textbooks and you're able to cut that figure in half, you'll have enough cash left over to buy round-trip tickets for spring break in the tropical destination of your choice.

Your textbooks and couse materials may now be eligible for a tax credit of up to $2,500! See www.textbookaid.org to find out if you qualify for the American Opportunity Tax Credit.