–Buy used whenever possible. Your school bookstore probably sells used copies but they usually sell out fast. Check online for a used version of your book. Most online textbook retailers have information on the condition of book before you buy and you can usually find a version that is “like new”’ or “very good” and still save a lot of money over buying new.
-Find a textbook price comparison website like www.booksprice.com or find one you like better by searching the web for “textbook price compare.” This allows you to see the price of your textbook being sold on lots of different websites and allows you to buy it for as little as possible.
–Use retailmenot.com to find promo codes to use on discount websites like half.com or abebooks.com. You don’t need an account and you can often find codes for free shipping or a percentage discount on your purchase. For example, go to retailmenot.com and type in “half.com.” The first coupon code says “10% off books for new users.” Click the “show coupon code” banner and the code “10BTS” will pop up. If you type that in to the promo code field at check out at half.com, it will automatically take of 10% off your whole purchase. That might not sound like much but on a $100 textbook, it will save you $10. If you already have a half.com account, consider opening another one with your Umail email address so that you can use this code.
–After you search for a promo code, go to Ebates.com or Shopathome.com to get additional cash back when using online book retailers. This is an important step and get often save you an additional 2%-6%. If you want more information on how these websites work, click here.
–Buy international copies when possible. International editions are usually almost identical to the copies sold at the book store and can be half the price.
–Look for an online version or e-book from websites like Amazon. This can save you money over buying a hard copy but might be inconvenient if you don’t have a tablet. Remember when buying an online copy or e-book, you cannot sell your book back at the end of the semester and make back some of your initial cost. And some online versions only give you access to the book for a short time (like one year) and you are better off buying hard copy if you still want access to the book after that time period.
–Rent your textbook from websites like chegg.com. You can find textbooks rentals for as little as $15-$50 per semester and save a lot of money. Just take in to consideration that you cannot sell your textbook back at the end of the semester since you are borrowing it from the company. And you can be responsible for the whole cost of the book if it gets lost or damaged. This is not a good option if you want to keep your book after the rental period is over. If buying the textbook used online is only $10-$25 more, consider purchasing the book instead because after you sell it back and recoup some or all of your initial cost, it will have saved you more money in the end than renting and if you decide you like the book, you have the option to keep it instead.
–Buy an older edition of the book. Revisions of textbooks come out so frequently that the previous version might not be much different from the $150 book your teacher requires. Before you buy however, talk to your teacher or go to the library and compare the versions so that you know the older version will work. If there are only a few pages that are different (for example, some of the homework questions), you can copy those pages to supplement your text book. This might seem like more work but it could save you 75% on your textbook or more! Try not go back too many editions, especially if the subject changes frequently (like a textbook on technology).
-Make sure you will get your book in time. Even if you have to pay a little extra for rush shipping, it is very likely that you will save money over going to the bookstore. If your book won’t arrive in time, check your school library and see if they have a copy of the book on reserve. That means no one can check out the book for more than a few hours so you have a good chance of being able to find the book if you just need to read a chapter or do a few homework problems.
-Sell it back. And finally when the semester is over, if you decide you no longer need your textbook, sell it back to your school if possible or online. If you purchased it online and scored a good deal, you could even make money on selling it back to your school!