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The Best Ways to Save on College Textbooks

by Kelly Lucas on July 20, 2012

If there’s one thing parents know, it’s that college is expensive. There’s the overpriced tuition, overpriced room and board, and overpriced meal plans. On top of the expected expenses, there are also unexpected expenses. Depending on your child’s major, one book for one class could be up to $400. Times that by five classes, and you’re reaching into the thousands. And that’s just one semester. For example, Introduction to Psychology: Gateways to Mind and Behavior with Concept Maps and Reviews by Dennis Coon and John O. Mitterer is listed at $227.95. Fortunately, there are many ways to cut costs for textbooks.

Chegg.comRenting is a low-cost alternative that colleges are starting to implement. For certain books, you can go into your school’s bookstore and rent your textbook for a fraction of the price. At the end of the semester, you return the book to the bookstore and never have to worry about it again. Because most college textbooks will not be used after a student has finished their class, rental is gaining popularity.

If the book isn’t available at the college bookstore, offers rentals, often at a fraction of the price of purchase. Introduction to Psychology can be rented for $63.49, approximately 72% off the cover price. At the end of the semester, print out a shipping label from your account and send it back to Chegg free of charge. You can even sell them your old books that you don’t want anymore.

Easily my favorite site to buy discounted books is If Amazon’s price isn’t low enough for me, I turn to the Amazon Marketplace, where I can buy a gently used book for almost half the cost. Introduction to Psychology can be bought new from Amazon at $183.84, only 19% off. Buy used and it drops as low as $120.76 (47% off).

Students can also sign up for Amazon Prime for half price, only $39. Called Amazon Student, this program offers special Prime pricing, e-book borrowing and free two-day shipping. Kindle owners can also rent textbooks directly from Amazon.

Half.comSponsored by eBay, is very similar to the Amazon Marketplace, and Introduction to Psychology can be bought for $120.76 from the same seller that’s in the Amazon Marketplace. Even though you are buying from a seller, not, sellers never see your credit card number. Just like Chegg, also has a very active rental section, where you can find Introduction to Psychology for $75.22 (67% off), with free return shipping.

If you are truly a poor college kid, is for you. Thriftbooks only sells used books, and books are offered at rock bottom prices, but there’s a catch – many of the textbooks are older editions. Introduction to Psychology wasn’t available in its current 13th edition. If the professor doesn’t mind back editions, you’re golden – the 11th edition of Introduction to Psychology is only $5.12, with free shipping.


Family and Parenting, Kids, Tips & How-Tos, Back to School, Shopping, Money Savers

Discussion loading


From Beki on July 24, 2012 :: 3:53 am

Those are all great ideas for textbooks. I usually look at used, renting, and ebooks and pick whatever is the cheapest.

There’s another site that’s great for textbooks: It aggregates prices from all different websites (from Amazon to smaller sites like Abe Books) so you can see in a quick snapshot where the textbooks are the cheapest. They also do buybacks, so that ends up saving a lot of money!



From ofer on August 19, 2012 :: 7:21 pm



From Vernon Marker on November 28, 2012 :: 4:27 pm

I used online readers when I went to college -  - and it saved me a bundle of money.


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