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How to Cover the Cost of Textbooks: The Different Options Students Have

cost of textbooks

The average college student is expected to spend over $1,000 in books alongside college tuition. The cost of textbooks can be a financial strain for some students, causing students to drop classes and postpone their education, or forgo classes altogether until they can afford books. 

But there are several ways to save money on textbooks! Keep to find out how. 

7 Ways to Lower the Cost of Textbooks

Textbooks are a fundamental part of classes, yet they can drain a student’s wallet! But they don’t have to. Here are seven ways you can save money on textbooks. 

Find Used Books

One of the best ways to cut your textbook costs is to buy your books used. You can do this online or in a used book store. In most cases, you can save about 40% off the cover price. 

Look for books that are in good condition. Make sure the edition is the one you need for class. 

Resell Your Books

If you’re a student already, you can sell your books back and get some cash to put towards the cost of books for the next semester. You can use a buyback program online, or inquire at your campus bookstore. 

Keeping your books in the best shape is key to making sure they are bought back. 

Rent Books

Renting books is another option. You can do this through several online providers. Renting books is best if you only need the book for a short time, and won’t reference it again. 

Student Loans

Student loan debt is staggering. However, some students don’t have any choice and must take out loans to pay for their college. Putting aside some of these loans to help pay for books is a possibility, though you can always buy used or rent books to save a little cash. 

Get a Scholarship

Applying for scholarships is a wise way to get your tuition paid for. But did you know there are scholarships you can apply for that are specifically for books?

These scholarships provide students with money to use towards the cost of books and the amount awarded depends on the type of scholarships. Applying is similar for the typical scholarship, but each has its requirements. 

In some states, there are educational grants for books as well. 

New Doesn’t Mean Expensive

Buying used is preferred, but sometimes students don’t have a choice. The textbook may be completely new to the market, or the used one isn’t available. 

While newer books are more expensive, it all depends on where you look! Most likely, your campus bookstore will be the most expensive place to buy books, but with a little digging online, you can find a newer book at a lower price. 

By researching for the lowest price online, you could save as much as 20%.


There are now some versions of textbooks available in e-book form. This is a great option because it cuts down on the cost of shipping because most e-books are instant downloads. 

Another reason e-books work is because they cut down on the cost of paper. In most case

Older Versions

Buying a newer version of the book may be preferred, but it could be perfectly acceptable to use an older version. Ask your professor or instructor if you can use a version that’s a couple of years older and save yourself some money. 


If you know you’ll be in a class with other friends, consider splitting the cost of books. You can share them as you study or go to class together. 

One of the drawbacks is that you’ll have to work out a schedule to where you’ll need to study sufficiently for exams. However, if you’re short on cash, you can make it work with a classmate. 

Caring for Your Textbooks

As mentioned above, one of the ways you can pay for textbooks is by reselling yours and taking the profits to offset the cost of new ones. So, you must care for the textbooks you currently have, especially if you’re renting. 

Here are a few ways to care for your books. 

Try to keep your books out of extremely hot temperatures. Doing so may cause excess moisture to ruin the pages or cover. 

Use your books inside. The sun’s rays can fade the pages due to ultraviolet light. 

Make sure to keep them clean and free of dust, especially if they’ve sat on your shelf or in your room for a long time. Keep them away from liquids and food to avoid staining. 

Store them on upright on a shelf when you’re not using them. Take caution as you carry them to class or study groups. 

If you plan on reselling your book, refrain from jotting notes or highlighting the text, as well as turning the corner of the pages. This can devalue the book and make it less appealing to potential buyers. Try making notes in a notebook, or using a bookmark to keep your place instead. 

If your book doesn’t come with a jacket cover, consider making one protect the cover from scratches, dents, marks, or other damages. If your book does come with a jacket cover, keep it on!

Buying Textbooks: Not so Hard

The cost of textbooks doesn’t have to be a hurdle for college students. With a little digging, saving, and planning, buying (and selling your textbooks) can be an enjoyable experience in your college journey. 

Are you looking for the best price on textbooks? Our website has all you need to know! Visit us today!

About the Author

Christopher Manns

I was born in the UK, grew up in Canada and have lived in the USA since the 90s. I love my family, water sports, ice hockey, skiing and soccer. When I'm not helping people save money on textbooks, I'm travelling with my wonderful family and playing sports.