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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at C of C chapter.

It’s the worst time of the year for my bank account- the back to school season. Between tuition, class fees, supplies, food bills, and all things college, I always run out of money much quicker than expected. Buying the required textbooks for my classes always seems to fall to the bottom of my to-do list, so over the years I have spent lots of time searching for the best deal on my books. It makes no sense to me to keep this to myself, so I thought I’d share my knowledge I’ve gathered so far. Here are my do’s and don’ts of textbook purchasing: 

NEVER buy from the bookstore (unless you absolutely have to!)

Your campus bookstore, while a good resource for the rich and prosperous, is often the worst place to buy your books from. If you’re taking a class where the book is only offered from your bookstore, like a biology lab, you have no choice. If you’re not, however, my best advice is to steer clear of your campus bookstore. These places often mean well but have a tendency to really mark up prices of books you can get much cheaper from other places. Don’t spend money just for convenience!

Check out the publishing company’s resources.

Some textbook publishers, such as Pearson, offer a monthly subscription service where you can get multiple ebooks a month for a lower rate. Pearson+ is the one I use, and I can get 5 textbooks a semester for $14.99 a month. That amounts to about $60 a semester, and to be honest that’s a way better deal than just buying them outright from the bookstore.

Check used book websites.

I can’t tell you how many times ThriftBooks has saved my wallet when buying textbooks. Many of the used book resale websites have textbooks in great condition for 15-40 dollars. These are always the physical book rather than the ebook, however for the price, it never matters to me.

Google the name of the book (with “PDF” after it!)

This is a very simple way to find a sometimes dramatically cheaper version of your book. Adding “PDF” at the end of your search can bring you results directly from the publishing company, or from someone who very generously uploaded a few samples of the book.

Ask around!

If you know people in your major who have already taken your classes, ask if they have your book. It seems simple, but that easy question can easily save you so much money and googling efforts. Most people I know are happy to share or sell their textbooks at discounted prices, and who doesn’t like to lend a financial helping hand when they can? 

Early Childhood Education | Psychology 4th year student at CofC, fan of cats, coffee, and New Girl