We have some good news and some bad news. First the bad news (which you were probably already aware of): textbooks are an ever-growing part of the expense of college. Now the the good news: new competitors in the online, used, and rental textbook market can help you save 50-90% on your books.
To help you stretch your book buying dollar, we put together these 5 textbook savings tips:
1. Rent textbooks
Online textbook rentals are gaining popularity each term. Why? The rental process is easy and requires much less money upfront. Renting is typically 50% less than the bookstore's used book price. Rental companies offer free return shipping and the packaging to return your book. You no longer have to wait in long lines at the end of the term or semester to sell your book back. Instead you can get the savings up front and simply drop the book off at a postal center in the rental companies prepaid shipping package.
2. Get eTextbooks
More and more booksellers are offering electronic versions of popular textbooks. You can view these eTextbooks on your computer and do not have to be connected to the internet to do so. One downside to eTextbooks is that you cannot sell them back at the end of term which adds to the total cost of ownership. Even with this downside you can sometimes save up to 30% off the new print version of the textbook.
3. Consider an international or instructors edition
Some students are finding that purchasing books that are printed in other countries, known as international editions, have the same content at a much lower price than the US edition. There are some slight variations in international editions. For instance, they may have a different number of total pages and the quality of the book's paper and binding may not be as good as the US edition. With that said, international editions work for many students and can save you 30-50% off the new US edition of the same book.
Instructors editions are books originally intended for use by professors and teachers. These books typically have the exact same material but also include notes for professors. Instructors editions are a good way to save about 20-50% off the new print edition textbook price.
4. Buy early
Good used textbook inventory goes fast. If you are buying textbooks online you will have a much better selection if you buy early. The cost will be lower and you will get a better condition used copy as well. If you end up dropping a class, most online textbook stores will provide a full refund if you return the book withing 15 to 30 days of your purchase.
5. Use coupons
Most online companies offer coupons that deduct 10-20% off the book price or offer free shipping and shipping upgrades. You can find a list of the most current online bookstore coupons and deals here.
The options for saving on textbooks continue to grow. Savvy shoppers can find an option that saves them 50-90% off the cost of the new print edition with just a little effort.