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Expensive textbooks for next semester? Here are some tips to save:

The start of the semester is fast approaching, and I recently received my book list for next semester.

Of course, it looks grim. I'm pretty sure my Political Science class has at least ten books alone, not to mention what is required for my other classes. And although most of these books are under $30, this is an anomaly. Some classes require books that can run over $100.

People, I am not made of money. I pay for books out of fund that also covers my rent, utilities, and other essentials like food. Since I am usually not willing to starve to pay for an $80 textbook, over my years in college I have found ways to circumvent these needless expenses.

Here are some of the best places my friends and I have found to get our textbooks at reduced costs. As an example, I will use a book required for one of my classes, The Outlaw Bible of American Literature. On my book list, it says it will cost me $31.25 for a new copy and $23.45 for a used copy.

Let's check out our other options:

   
   

Chegg.com

Chegg attempts to offer a different approach to textbook buying. Instead of buying the book, you rent the book from Chegg at a reduced price and then ship it back for no additional cost at the end of the semester.

My book from Chegg will cost $9.99, and it says I will get to keep it until 5/28/2010, which is after my semester ends.

The only catch is that if I would like an extension on the book it costs extra money. For example if I went to UCLA I would need the book until the end of my semester in late June. Chegg would charge me about $5 more to keep the book an extra 30 days. This brings my total to $15, which is still less than the listed price.

This system eliminates the end of the semester gratification that comes from the cash you get from selling the book back. However, it also eliminates the "I just got $20 back for a book that cost me $100" disappointment.

CheapestTextbooks.com

CheapestTextbooks.com claims on its main page that "many students using our site have saved over 95% off their textbooks by price comparing the major online college textbook stores". The site offers many different prices from different vendors and also offers their own coupons and deals on select texts.

The cheapest I can buy my book for on this site is $4.68, plus shipping of up to $3.99. I also get a $5 off coupon with a $50 purchase if I am a new customer.

CourseSmart.com 

and

TextbookMedia

These sites offer textbooks in an online format. Students can buy and access the books on their computer, or in some cases even from their iPhones. TextbookMedia also offers some versions of their textbooks for free. Unfortunately my book was not offered by either site, so I cannot do an exact price comparison against the other two. 

Do you have a way to save money on textbooks? Share it below or email me at smcneal@usc.edu!

Comments

  • jon jon 4 years ago

    i like to buy my books on ebay!!!!!!! Great article! wagloo wagloo!

  • DC Culinary Education Examiner 4 years ago

    Bestwebbuys.com lets you compare textbook prices from over 30 online retailers.

  • Stephanie McNeal 4 years ago

    Oh wow really? I will have to check that site out.

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