The best way for starving students to save money
Student debt is a common topic in conversations about higher education, but how much of that debt stems from loans—and how much of it stems from textbooks? Universities don’t have a standardized system for dealing with textbooks.
Some professors write their own and require students to purchase the books, while others use high-priced entries from publishers like McGraw and Pearson. A student taking just four classes a semester might spend $600 or more on textbooks, sometimes for just a single book.
The saving grace of budget-bound college students is the used market. In any college town you will find a used bookstore that specializes in textbooks. Unfortunately, the quantity is often limited. The best option to buy used textbooks is to look online.
Numerous websites and services provide good-condition or better textbooks for college students. The websites on this list are some of the best.
Chegg is one of the go-to outlets for college students to buy used textbooks because it doesn’t just sell textbooks, but also rents them. If your class requires a brand-new textbook that just released, you might not be able to find a used copy anywhere. On the other hand, renting it means you aren’t shelling out a ridiculous amount of cash.
Chegg allows you to return books for free with a prepaid shipping label and even provides a 21-day risk-free period. If you decide the class isn’t for you, you can drop it and return the book without any financial risk.
Chegg saves students up to 90% off textbooks, has a huge question and answer database for those pesky questions, and even offers e-textbooks for many titles. It’s hands-down the best all-around option for college students looking to save money on their textbooks.
Amazon is the world’s leading online marketplace, so why not look there to buy used textbooks? The truth is, Amazon makes it easy for anyone to sell goods on their platform. College students will find creative ways to make money, so flipping a textbook they no longer need is the perfect solution.
Just hop on Amazon and look for the textbook you need and there’s a good chance you can find it, even for those more obscure courses and subjects. The only exception are professor-specific textbooks—those might be easier to find from other students on your campus.
You should know that Amazon also offers Amazon Prime (free two-day shipping, free ebooks each month, and Prime Video) to college students through the Amazon Student deal. It’s a great way to save money on shipping and textbooks—plus, you get a free Netflix alternative.
CampusBooks lets users buy, rent, and sell textbooks, but its true strength is in its search aggregator. The service looks at various retailers all across the web to help students find the best possible price on a textbook, including Amazon, Chegg, and many others.
If you want to search almost all of the retailers at once without taking the time to do it yourself, Campus Books is the way to go. And thankfully, textbooks aren’t airline prices—you don’t have to use weird tricks to keep the price from going up.
With a name like Textbooks.com, it comes as no surprise that the website commands a huge amount of traffic. On the other hand, the traffic is well-earned. Textbooks.com is one of the easiest-to-use retailers for used textbooks anywhere on the web.
The site has few frills. From the homepage, users are greeted with a large search bar and three main navigation options: Buy Textbooks, Sell Textbooks, and eTextbooks. The site advertises prices up to 90% off and provides free shipping on orders over $25.
Textbooks.com claims to have more than 10 million textbooks in stock. The site also provides other services, such as an expert answering service you can use to clarify even the most confusing subjects 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.
There is also an online writing center available at all times of day with essential services like a plagiarism checker, grammar tool, and citation generator.
Like many of its competitors, eCampus lets you buy used textbooks for up to 90% off their face value. Shipping is free over $35, and the site allows users to buy, sell, and rent textbooks. Customers can save $5 off their order by texting the word books to 87955.
Where eCampus sets itself apart is via the eWards program. It’s a rewards program that lets users save even more money by spending points. These points can be earned by performing simple tasks like signing up, following eCampus on Twitter, connecting your Facebook account, and much more. You also earn points when you purchase a textbook or rent one. Ironically enough, renting a textbook yields more points per dollar.
eCampus also provides customers with a “Textbook Guarantee.” The textbooks can be returned for any reason within 25 days of purchase and rentals can be extended at any time. eCampus also provides access to the electronic version of your textbooks.
eCampus doesn’t have as many bells and whistles as its competition, but if you aren’t likely to use the online help services provided by Chegg and Textbooks.com, you can use the rewards program to save a few extra dollars.