How to Find the Cheapest Used College Textbooks

College textbooks can be a major expense; depending on your education institution, your textbook bill can equate to a third of your tuition dues. That’s a lot of money, considering many college students are financially strapped as it is. Fortunately, it is not necessary to pay top price for your school books, and you can save a considerable amount of money if you are willing to shop around and buy used books.

Where do you find the best deals? Here are some pointers for how to find the cheapest used college textbooks:

Get all of the pertinent information

You will likely have to shop a number of sources, so it is a good idea to record all of the pertinent information about the books you need in one place (a spreadsheet is a great idea, as you can copy/paste data as needed). What information will you need? For starters, the ISBN is probably the most important thing. You can get this by searching online or paying a visit to your college bookstore. Also, you should record the title of the book, the author(s), and the edition.

Student looking for books

Start early

You should begin shopping for your textbooks as soon as you possibly can. That is because many other students have the same great idea as you (finding used books for cheap), which means the best deals will sell out first./

Ask fellow students where they buy their books.

There are so many online used college textbook resources that you may find it confusing. Ask your classmates for recommendations. While you may end up finding your books at other sites, peer recommendations are a great starting point.

Conduct online searches.

As previously mentioned, a quick online search will return a wide array of used college textbook dealers. Choose the first several in the list for a start. If you don’t find what you are looking for through them, or if after your research you think you can get a better deal elsewhere, you can always add more book vendors to your list.

Comparison shop.

Plug your ISBN (and whatever other information is requested) into the site search engines to find their used books for sale. Do this for a number of different sites and then compare your findings side by side to make the best choice. It is likely that you will purchase different books from different sites, so this process could take a while.

Don’t forget shipping and handling

Textbooks can weigh a lot, and it can cost a lot to ship them. Some sites offer free shipping and handling, while others charge premium fees. Be sure to account for shipping and handling costs when comparing used book prices.

It is possible to drastically reduce your college textbook costs by buying used and shopping around. Follow these steps to find the best deals for you.

Son Pestka is a college senior and he spends the entire summer searching for the cheapest college textbooks he can find and plans to continue the same routine through graduate school.

Photo by Kellogg Community College

Author: SmartStudent

SmartStudent is an educational portal that provides information & advice to aspiring students. regarding applying to university, choosing a course, what to take to university, finding student accommodation and much more.

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