How to save money on textbooks

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With the start of the school season in full swing, the cost of educational necessities can quickly put students and their families under financial strain. After paying for college tuition and necessary housing, there are a lot of extras, like textbooks, that students need to find a way to afford.

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Thankfully, GOBankingRates covers this year’s students. Check out these money-saving tips that will stretch your budget this fall and keep you affordable for all the necessary spending this back-to-school season.

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Use University Libraries

To get your textbooks for free, check your school’s library. Popular textbooks are usually available in limited quantities for students to borrow or use during library time. Since numbers are limited, it’s best to go to the library before or before school starts to see if they have the books you need so you can preorder books before other students.

rent textbooks

You may never use the textbooks required for your course again. So unless you know you will be able to use your textbooks in many courses, students might consider renting books rather than buying them. Renting a textbook is much cheaper than buying it, and students enjoy the freedom to only pay for the book whenever they need it.

“Renting is one of the easiest ways to save money on textbooks, and there are many ways to do it,” said Julie Ramhold, a consumer analyst at DealNews.com. “Chegg is the best-known textbook rental site. For one, they offer free ebooks to use while you wait for the physical book to arrive. Chegg says you can save up to 90% by renting than buying, but obviously your mileage may vary. Whichever This way, it’s best to check all options before deciding on a particular route.”

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share textbooks

If some friends in your class are interested in saving some money on course textbooks, consider purchasing one and sharing it with a few classmates. While it may be difficult to get a group of four people trying to read a textbook at the same time, your group can share page photos and take turns taking them home to share information while saving money.

Splitting the cost of textbooks with your classmates will give you more responsibility for your studies, build relationships with new classmates, and the opportunity to get the most out of your class without sacrificing your budget.

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Search outside the university bookstore

While it may be convenient to buy textbooks from a college bookstore, frequent shopping around and comparing prices can lead to finding textbooks for less.

If you want to save money, one of the best places to buy textbooks is Amazon. The site often offers excellent book sales and a variety of format options—paperback, digital, hardcover, and more—so you can find the book that best fits your budget and learning style.

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buy used

Before buying the textbooks you need at full price, consider buying used books to enjoy big savings at no additional cost.

“Buying second-hand is another easy way to save money,” says Ramhold. “However, these were also the first copies to disappear, as they were the first choice for many students, so if you don’t have any used copies locally, check online. Sites like Chegg offer used copies of select textbooks, but know that even buying used copies Books are also more expensive than rentals.”

Be sure to check your university’s Facebook group to find local students who sell books you no longer need, and pick up books yourself to avoid extra shipping and handling.

Delay buying as much as possible

Typically, when a course requires students to purchase an online textbook, there is a 7- to 21-day buffer period in which students can access the textbook material for free. Be sure to take advantage of this buffer period and hold off on purchasing until you are sure you will be staying in class and need to use the textbook.

“If you don’t mind taking a gamble, wait until your first day of class to buy a textbook,” Ramhold said. “You might find that the teacher decides not to use the textbook, or they’ll allow you to use an older version without having to buy something completely new. Or you might even decide that you don’t want that particular class or teacher so you can drop the class, without losing any cash for a book you no longer need.”

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