Recently, the National Association of College Stores published some shocking data related to the cost of college textbooks.
According to NACS, the average cost of college course materials was around $415 during the 2018-19 academic year.
Even though that’s down 14% from previous school years, students are still spending a lot of money. And depending on how many books a student needs per year, they could pay double that amount.
As a college student, you probably have very little money. So, you need to come up with some creative ways to save. Think about what you could do with all that extra cash!
Instead of spending a ton, here are some ways to save money on textbooks. These tips could help you save hundreds of dollars per semester.
Check ‘em out!
1. Go for Used Books
Instead of buying brand new college books, consider buying used ones instead. They’re usually a lot cheaper!
Before you buy a used book, however, be sure to shop around. If you get a book online, for example, read the description and condition report before you enter your debit card info.
The wear and tear should be minimal. You should be able to use it without any pages falling out.
But, don’t expect a used textbook to come in mint condition. They may come with highlights or notes scattered throughout, but the pages should be intact. You should be able to read the pages, or the book will be useless to you.
Don’t forget to find out if any older versions are available. If you find a good deal on an older edition, ask your professor if you could use one of them instead of the newer version.
Buying a used newer version is great, but getting an older version could help you save some cash.
2. Share With a Friend
If you are close with anyone in your class, ask them if they want to share a book. You can split the cost 50/50, and take turns reading it.
Sharing can significantly help cut the cost of your class textbook. And by sharing a used book, you can save even more money!
Plus, it’ll be nice having a study buddy (unless you’d prefer to study alone, which is also okay).
Regardless of whether you study together or not, you should come up with a schedule for splitting the book. Decide what days or hours you’ll need the book, and make sure to have it back to them by the deadline.
3. Rent a Textbook
Did you know that renting textbooks is an option? If you don’t plan on keeping your book when the course ends, then renting could be your best option.
The College Investor says that students can save up to 70-90% by renting instead of buying. Plus, renting is convenient because you won’t have a stack of heavy books piling up in your dorm room.
4. Head to the Library
Coursework doesn’t always entail heavy textbooks. Sometimes, classes revolve around lightweight paperbacks. This is common in English and creative writing courses where you read a lot of fiction.
Before you buy books on Amazon, check if they’re available through the library. Depending on how big your campus library is, they might have several copies available.
There’s likely more than one library in the area. So if your school library doesn’t have the book you need, you may be able to find it at another local library. This can help you save a ton of money (as long as you return them on time).
If you’re an aspiring scholar, you might want to keep them and add them to your bookshelf when you’re done. In that case, you can always borrow a book from the library first. Then, you can order a copy if you like the book and want to add one to your own collection.
5. Stay Away From the Student Bookstore
Campus bookstores are convenient, but that’s why they’re a problem. Be aware that if a friend lures you into the student bookstore, you could spend an outrageous amount of money on books. That’s a big “oops” when you’re trying to save cash.
While it may be tempting to use the student bookstore as a one-stop-shop, do yourself a favor and buy online instead. The internet is a one-stop-shop too, but you’ll find used books at a better price!
Or, try one of the other options we mentioned, such as sharing a book with a friend.
Of course, there are some exceptions. For example, you might have to buy a course-specific book that your professor or a fellow student wrote. If those books aren’t available online or in the library, the school store might be your only option.
You might not be able to find them elsewhere, but it doesn’t hurt to ask around before buying them. There might be a student who’s willing to give you the book for free or sell it to you at a minimal fee.
Bonus Tip: Sell Your Books on Amazon When You’re Done with Them
If you never plan on using your textbooks again, sell them! There are plenty of sites that allow you to sell your textbooks online.
Obviously, one of the best options is Amazon. That’s the first place a lot of students go when they’re buying school books.
There may be a few books you want to keep. But as for the others, it’s okay to let them go. By using this powerhouse website to your advantage, you can offload your books and put some money back into your pocket.
Your wallet will thank you!
As you can see, there are many ways to cut back on textbook expenses while you’re in school.
It’s not always easy, but taking the time to look for less expensive books is beneficial.
Don’t you think it’d be helpful to put that money to better use? You’ll sure feel better with a few extra bucks in your bank account.
College is expensive enough, so any way you can cut back will help you save in the long run.
If a friend is considering buying a book at full price, remind them that it’s not worth the cost. There are so many other ways to find textbooks at a reasonable cost. And once you have hunted down your books, you’ll be ready to take on the college world!
Ryan Sundling is a Group Marketing Manager at Cardinal Group Management. He has over ten years of experience in the student housing industry and works with Cottages at Tucson every day to help them with their marketing efforts.