Where to Buy Cheap Textbooks

As I’m transitioning to the new space here, I’ll feature a throwback from my old blog every Tuesday. This post originally ran on January 19, 2015 (but let’s be honest with ourselves… it’s always relevant).


Since the new college semester will be beginning soon (and therefore everyone will be jumping at the bit to buy their textbooks early… right?), it’s a good time to make a post about where to get cheap textbooks.

But why? You ask. Can’t I just get my books from the bookstore? They have everything I need.

Don’t. You. Dare.

The first semester my freshman year of college, I did just that: I ordered all my textbooks from the university bookstore. The total came to about $300. (I also got a free t-shirt, but that’s beside the point.) Since then, I’ve used these websites, and I’ve saved $100-$200 dollars every semester, money which can be put to better use. Like food. And things from Target.

That being said, here are some great websites to find (cheap!) textbooks. The sites include both used and new books, but honestly, go with the used. The worst that can happen is that the book is already highlighted, which means you get the SparkNotes version if it’s a subject you really don’t care about (Lookin’ at you, Geology).

I’ll start with the obvious:

Amazon

Look, I know that some people think Amazon is the do-all, end-all of all evil corporations, but they have an Amazon Student free trial which gives you six months of free shipping. In the long run, since shipping is what ultimately increases the prices of your books (I’ve gotten some books for one cent, only to have to pay much more to physically get the book to my house), this is an awesome idea. Just make sure that once your six months are up, you cancel the subscription, unless you want to pay the $49. (Buzzfeed has written an article about the best ways to save on Amazon, and in it, gave some great tips for students.)

BigWords

This is the website I use the most often because I’m lazy. It searches the most popular used books websites and finds your textbooks at the cheapest prices. The websites usually included in this search are Textbook Rush, Half.com (part of eBay), Amazon, AbeBooks, and a few miscellaneous textbook sites that I only get very rarely. Yes, you’ll have to type your payment info into multiple websites (unless you’ve made an account), but in the long run, it’s going to save you more than if you just buy everything off of Amazon. And sometimes you get free shipping!

ThriftBooks

This is a website I’ve only just recently heard about, but my roommate swears by it. Not only do they have free shipping (yes, please!), but they usually have all the textbooks you need (some books, like those with account codes for foreign language classes, might not be on the site). Even though I’m done with school now, I’m definitely checking this one out for books I want that have been in print for a while..!

 

That’s all I’ve got so far! I also know of some sites like Powell’s, but they don’t always carry textbooks (although they do have novels for all my fellow English majors out there). Let me know if there are any good ones I’ve forgotten!

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