If you listen carefully as back-to-school season sets in, you can probably hear the soft sound of your wallet weeping, and it’s not hard to guess why. Textbook shopping is on the horizon, and unfortunately, knowledge doesn’t come cheap. Luckily for you collegiettes, there are budget-friendly sites out there where you can purchase or rent textbooks. Check out our list below!
For those who prefer renting books to purchasing them, Chegg is worth checking out. A self-proclaimed hub of student resources, Chegg offers both textbook and eTextbook rentals, with 21- or 14-day satisfaction guarantees, respectively. In other words, if you aren’t happy with your textbook or you decide to drop the class the book is for, you can ship it back to them for a full refund, minus the cost of shipping. And if you’re new to the textbook rental scene and still have some old textbooks lying around, you can sell them to Chegg and make some extra cash. Chegg offers buyback quotes online, so you can find out how much you could get for your books instantly!
Special feature: Textbooks aren’t the most exciting things to buy, but Chegg tries to spice up the experience by sending a gift to you along with your purchases. “Last semester I rented three books, and along with my order they included a 5-hour Energy and a free month-long subscription to Hulu Plus,” says Rowan, a sophomore at the University of North Carolina.
Campus Book Rentals is another textbook rental site that’s good for those students who may normally shy away from renting their textbooks. Although you may worry that you have to be extra careful with your books all semester so you can return them in good condition, Campus Book Rentals encourages its renters to treat their textbooks as if they were their own, so highlight away! Just keep in mind that what you give is what you get – chances are, the books you rent will come with markings from the previous owners, too.
Special feature: Campus Book Rentals also has a unique RentBack feature: you send your books to them and they rent the books out to different students, sending you money for each rental until the book goes out of demand. Making money by getting rid of your old textbooks? Sign us up!
There isn’t much that you can’t find on Amazon, and cheap textbooks are no exception. Collegiettes can search, buy, sell, and rent textbooks and e-books quicker than it takes to get distracted by all the other fabulous deals on the site.
Special feature: Students with a university email address are eligible for six months of free Amazon Prime through the Amazon Student deal – and that means free two-day shipping on millions of items. It’s perfect for those last-minute class textbook additions or for any collegiette prone to procrastination. “My drawing teacher told us we needed an art projects book by the end of the week, and my college bookstore was out,” says Lauren, a senior at Colorado State University. “I was able to get [it] on Amazon that day. It came really quickly—in two days—so I was able to get it on time… to complete the drawing assignment.”
Textbooks.com is as straightforward as it gets, with an easy-to-use search function that’ll get the dreaded textbook buying process over with as fast as possible. According to its website, it’s the home of the most used textbooks on the web, with prices up to 90 percent off the cover price. Collegiettes have options to buy, rent, and sell textbooks, so it might very well be your one-stop shop to save money and make cash. If you spend more than $25 (and let’s be real—with textbooks, you likely will), shipping is free. Shipping is also free when you mail Textbooks.com any books that you sell to them.
Special feature: Textbooks.com offers a best price guarantee. According to their website, if you find a book for a lower price being directly sold on Amazon, they’ll match it!
For socially conscious collegiettes, Better World Books is a great option for buying textbooks. An eco-friendly company, Better World Books collects used books, saving them from landfills, as well as helps fund literacy projects in the United States and around the world. And all of that is on top of their cheap used book prices!
Special feature: The best part of buying through Better World Books is their Book for Book promise: for every book purchased through their website, they will donate a book to someone who needs it through Books For Africa and Feed The Children.
Having a hard time deciding between all these websites? Your best bet might be starting at AllBookstores.com, a hub where you can search for your book at dozens of online bookstores, such as Amazon, eBay, Barnes & Noble, and Half.com.
Special feature: AllBookstores.com is pretty no-frills, but what it lacks in extra-special features it makes up for in its “Compare Prices” option—one click of a button and you’ll be looking at all of your price options for a textbook side by side. It’s like waving a magic wand over your wallet!
No matter where you choose to get your books, always take the time to shop around for the best prices, and don’t be afraid to mix and match when it comes to where you buy and rent. Do you have a favorite site where you like to buy your textbooks? Let us know in the comments below!