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Ways to Cut College Textbook Costs


It’s hardly surprising that education comes with a hefty price: you must cover tuition, accommodation, supplies, and additional fees. In this list of expenses, textbooks may not seem like a concern. But in reality, they can cost a pretty penny. Let’s review the most effective tips for cutting your textbook costs. 


1. Buy used textbooks

Although used textbooks often contain highlights or scribbles, you can save a lot of money. Make sure you’re buying the edition you need, as the same textbook issued in a different year may contain additional pages and exercises or have a completely distinct structure. To do that, you can compare the assigned book’s ISBN (a code above the book’s bar code) with the one you plan to buy.

Where to buy: Amazon, eBay, Barnes & Noble, and on-campus or off-campus bookstores. Look for cheap books and used textbooks at online bookstores like


2. Take advantage of loans

Both federal and private student loans may cover tuition and related expenses, ranging from additional fees to supplies and textbooks. 


3. Buyback books

At the end of a semester, lots of bookstores have textbook buybacks. You can both sell and buy second-hand books, typically for half the original price. 


4. Use an older edition

One more way to save is to purchase an older edition. The difference between the newer and older editions may be negligible, but the price difference may be significant.


5. Rent books for study

Instead of buying textbooks, borrow them for a fraction of the cost. One of the drawbacks is that you can’t highlight and make extensive notes in the book because you will have to bring them back.


6. Buy an e-book

The advantages of e-textbooks are innumerable. You do not have to carry bulky textbooks. Moreover, you can make extensive notes and highlights and quickly find the necessary information. Plus, digital textbooks are typically sold at half the cost. 


7. Use the student library

Student and public libraries are also great options. Although you may typically borrow books for free, you will have to deal with time limits as other students may need the same book.


8. Use grants and scholarships

Like with student loans, if you have grants and scholarships, you can use them to cover the cost of your textbooks.


When planning college costs, you need to calculate the price of textbooks in advance. Luckily, numerous options, like e-textbooks or libraries, will allow you to save money.

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