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Your Ultimate Guide to Buying, Selling, and Renting Discount Textbooks


The cost of college textbooks has risen four times faster than the rate of inflation over the past 10 years. On average, college students spend over $1200 on textbooks a year. That’s on top of tuition and other incidental fees. Students need discount textbooks!

The cost of new textbooks is so high that many students are forgoing buying their class textbooks. But, that’s not a good solution either as students need their textbooks to do well in class.

Read on to learn how to find discount textbooks so that you can have what you need to succeed in your college courses.

How to Buy Discount Textbooks

College textbooks from the bookstore are overpriced. Yet, you can still get the textbooks you need by buying discount textbooks that have been used.

One of the best ways to save money on college textbooks is to buy previous or international editions of the books you need.

Find Previous Editions and International Editions

Most textbooks have previous editions. Whenever textbooks get updated, the publisher will print a new edition. It’s not uncommon to see 20th edition on textbooks in stores.

The good news is that textbooks don’t tend to change much from a previous edition to the next. Especially for subjects like history, philosophy, religion, and so on.

For most or all of your classes, you may be able to buy a previous or international edition of your textbook for much, much less.

The only thing that may be different is the page numbers. But you can always borrow a copy of the latest textbook from a friend or the library and write in the updated page numbers to make it easier for yourself.

It’s always a good idea to check with your course instructor first before you buy a previous edition. Email your professor and ask.

Math and science textbooks often come with a supplemental workbook that will be your homework for the term. In these cases, you may have to find a way to get this work or you may have to buy this textbook brand new.

Share with a Classmate

Another way to pay less for college textbooks is to share with a classmate. If you buy your books used and share it, then you can pay 50% less money on the textbook.

Just be sure to find a way to divide the time with the textbook so you both have plenty of access to it. Sure, this method will involve some planning and scheduling, but it could save you hundreds of dollars.

Renting Your College Textbooks

Do you have to take a science or humanities credit and have no interest in buying the textbook?

Another option to pay less for these college textbooks is to rent your college textbooks. You can save up to 70% this way.

Basically, renting your textbook means that you pay a small rental fee and get to borrow a textbook for a specified time.

You might rent a textbook for a semester, a quarter or a session. Then, when the time period is over, you just return the textbook by printing out a free shipping label.

Renting a textbook is quick, easy, and means you don’t have to worry about selling your book after the course is over.

Often, rental textbooks are in excellent condition and are the latest editions. Also, there are many e-versions of your textbooks you can rent. That way, you just download it and off you go.

Sell Your Used College Textbooks

What do you plan to do with your used textbooks once the course is over? Most people just let them collect dust and take up valuable space on a shelf.

It’s very unlikely that you would ever need to refer to your used textbook for a future course. So, one of the best things you can do to make money for next year’s textbooks is to sell your used ones.

In order to get the highest price for your college textbooks, you need to take good care of them.

Avoid making notes in the margins or highlighting portions in the book. The best way to remember what you are reading is to make your own notes, anyway. So marking up your textbook isn’t going to help you get a better grade in the class.

Use a notebook or your computer to write notes. These notes you can keep forever and reference them later if you need to.

Use our Selling Comparison

Of course, you want to get the most money for your used college textbooks as you can. But you also don’t have hours to waste answering questions on Craigs List and Facebook Marketplace.

Instead, sell your used books on You can compare how much various merchants are willing to pay for your textbook.

You will have competing offers that will drive up the price. And it will only take you a few seconds per book. It doesn’t get better than that.

Best of all, you can compare the payment options, too. Some merchants will mail you a check. Others pay via PayPal or gift cards.

Choose whichever method suits you to get you the funds the way you want them.

Final Word on Discount Textbooks

There you go! A detailed look at how to buy, sell and rent your discount textbooks. We hope this guide will help you save big bucks on the cost of your textbooks.

If you have more questions, check out our FAQ section to get the answers.

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.