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Image used by permission from Microsoft

Image used by permission from Microsoft

College students spend thousands of dollars on text books, so finding a way to save money on books is important.

For these ideas to work, you’ll have to plan ahead. If you wait until the day before your class begins, your only option will be to run to the campus bookstore. But with a little advanced planning, you could save several hundred dollars each semester.


Talk with friends who took the class before you and see if you can borrow their book.


If you can’t find a friend to borrow from, try renting your textbooks from BookRenter or CampusBookRentals.

Buy Used

If you can’t borrow or rent, then buy used textbooks. The campus bookstore will sell a supply of used books, but they are limited. So check online sources as well. You can find good deals on used text books online at Be sure to compare the price for both soft cover and hard cover versions of the text. Since sellers set their own price, you could find a better deal on one or the other. Also try which allows you to easily compare book prices across the major online book stores.

Buy New

If you can’t find a used book, compare the price of a new book at the campus bookstore with the online sources mentioned above. Numerous sellers also list new books at Again, compare the prices of both soft cover and hard cover versions. also compares new book prices across the major online book stores.

Check to see if an “international” edition is available. The book will be almost the same, except for maybe some Chinese characters on the front, and it will be exponentially cheaper.

Sell Your Used Books

You may want to keep some college texts for reference, but be sure to sell the rest at It is important to sell college texts quickly after the class ends, because once an updated edition of the book is published, your book will be nearly worthless. Be sure you list the book correctly (under the right edition and binding).

You may also be able to sell your books back to the campus bookstore, but likely for less than you can get selling them online.

Some sneaky students wait in the campus bookstore with their old books in hand, trying to connect with new students that need their books, hoping to strike a better payout directly.