The Best Sites to Buy Textbooks & The Best Sites to Rent Textbooks (+ More Textbook Shopping Tips)

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Too many collegiettes’ biggest textbook worry is not how heavy lugging their books to class will be, but how much of an impact the books will have on their bank accounts. It’s no doubt one of the most frustrating parts of beginning each semester: that dreaded trip to the university bookstore to see how much that big, long list of books is going to cost you this time. However, there’s hope out there for all of us looking to save a little money this fall on one of the slightly-less-exciting school expenses. Check out Her Campus’s guide to fall textbook shopping guaranteed to save you time, and, of course, lots of moolah.

DO use your fellow students as resources when it comes to purchasing or getting rid of books.
This should be one of your first stops when comparing prices for fall books. Alice Chen, a recent grad of Emory University, explains: “I'd reach out to upperclassmen or other students who had taken the classes I was taking, because they usually sell them for prices cheaper than what's offered in the bookstore. Likewise, selling books to other students is more profitable than selling books back to the bookstore — what you'd get 25 cents for at the bookstore could be $25 if you sell directly to another student!”

It’s basic economics: both students benefit in this scenario, so it’s one of your best options for saving crazy amounts of money. And, with a Facebook group set up for every class at your school, buying and selling textbooks is a breeze! Create a post in your group, ask around in your sorority house or on your sorority list-serv, check with fellow teammates or anyone else you can think of and see if they have the books you need. It never hurts to ask!

DON’T make the university bookstore your first stop.
Sure, the university bookstore probably approached you at orientation or accosted you with mailings and advertisements about how easy it is to get books from them or how they’ll bundle everything you need in a nice, neat package, but don’t fall for it! More often than not, bookstores located on your campus are the most expensive place to buy your textbooks.

The other problem with investing in one of the nice, pre-packaged deals many university-sponsored bookstores offer is that you’ll end up with all the books listed by the professor, even if some of these are merely optional texts, to trick you into buying more than you need. You may also end up with new textbooks if you go directly with one of these packages instead of rental or used versions of the same book, which are usually cheaper. If you wind up making any purchases from the bookstore, used is almost always the way to go.

It never hurts to look into university pricing and see if they offer cheaper ways to buy or borrow a book for the semester, but don’t make it your one and only stop when prepping for your semester.

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About The Author

Sydney is a junior double majoring in Media and Cultural Studies and Political Science at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn., a short trip away from Minneapolis, her hometown. When Sydney is not producing content for a variety of platforms, she enjoys hanging out with friends, watching movies, reading, and indulging in a smoothie or tea from Caribou Coffee, the MN-based version of Starbucks.