College Textbook Savings Page

A super page full of college textbook moneysaving tips and hacks.

Our priority at MoneySmartFamily is to help readers improve their finances and we partner with companies that could help you. Some links on this page are from our partners. Read how we earn money here.

This College Textbook Savings page contains a growing number of money saving ideas for cutting the cost of books for higher education!

College Textbook Buyback Strategy

For college textbook savings for our daughter, we’ve used We have found that in come cases buying books are as cheap as renting them. The bonus is that at the end of the semester several of the books can be sold back. Either to the college book store or the bookstore located near the campus. We’ve learned that selling back your books during finals week gives you the most success.   Marilyn – USA

I recently received an email from promoting Amazon Student. One of the benefits to this program is free membership in Amazon Prime for a year, with free two-day shipping on all eligible products. The only requirement to sign up for Amazon student is to supply Amazon with your .edu email address associated with the college you are currently enrolled in. Tricia – Bremerton, WA

We’ve verified the info, joined the program and have enjoyed a free Prime membership courtesy of our college kids.

More College Textbook Saving Ideas

We’ve been using Chegg for the past two years now to rent my daughter’s college textbooks. But sometimes they don’t have the more expensive books. So then we turn to and have found that sometimes she can buy the books as cheap there as she can rent them. And at the end of her semester, she can sell the books back to the college bookstore or the one right off campus. Either of these will pay almost as much money back as what she spent buying them on We always check both Chegg and Amazon.

Also, last semester we had to pay an additional $58 to Chegg to keep two books a week longer than their contract lasted for. I was very upset as I am living on a very tight monthly income.   Mona T. – USA

More About Chegg and Renting Textbooks

I rent textbooks from Chegg too! In the past, when I’ve purchased the textbooks used from the college bookstore I’ve had problems selling them back. We’ve discovered that more often than not, the college won’t take them back because they’ve updated them for the next year. Also shop as early as possible before your semester starts. The closer you are to the semester starting, the less the cheaper books are available on used sites  Martin S. – Kansas City, MO

College Textbook Savings – International Editions

An international edition of a college textbook.

I’ve been taking college classes for some time now and found that many times I can find an “International” edition of a specific textbook for less than the US edition listed for class. I’ve found them mostly found on These editions are paperback and usually contain the exact same material, but look at the description carefully.

When class is over, I’ve sold the books through for close to what it cost me. It has been a real money saver for me, sometimes I am able to recoup all but about $10, which can make the book cost extremely low.   Allison Amos – USA

Ways to Save on College Textbooks – Video

We taped this interview many years ago, but the principles still apply. There are many ways to save money on purchasing College Textbooks.

Don’t Pay Retail for College Textbooks

The average college student is paying between $500 to $900 per semester for books. By doing a little sleuthing, we found savings as great as 87% on books needed for this semester. Before you start your search, get as much information about your textbook as possible. Make sure to include Complete title, Author, Publisher, Edition Number, Year Published and ISBN number.

Here are the places we searched:

Buy used from the university bookstore and save 25%. We buy all the books at the bookstore (used whenever possible). We start several weeks before classes start. Then we start searching on-line using actual ISBN numbers on the books we have in hand. These books will be returned if we find better prices.

To save the most money, start your research as early as possible.
Steve & Annette – Scottsdale, AZ

Used College Textbooks

College textbooks are a source of frustration and great expense for many students and parents. We currently have one kid taking college classes and are appalled at what the bookstores are charging for textbooks.

For years we’ve done the research using ISBN numbers and edition numbers to find used books through, Ebay and Amazon. We’ve racked up some significant savings. Sometimes saving 90 percent over the new price at the bookstores.

Just recently we received this tip and think it’s great. Even if we get a great deal on a textbook, we still have to either sell it at the end of the semester, store it or give it away. Renting textbooks is another great solution. And with prices as low as $35 a semester for a book that sells for $125, it’s a bargain (this was a real life example for a Meteorology textbook this year).

Just know that there may still be some situations where it will be better to buy the book, but renting is a great option to consider. Steve & Annette Economides – Scottsdale, AZ

Renting College Textbooks

Hi! I’m a poor college student who really can’t afford to spend a lot of money on textbooks. I found this really neat website called which allows you to “rent” your textbooks for the semester for about 1/3 the price of buying it. This is a great option for liberal studies textbooks you “know” you’ll never pick up again after the class is over!   Leah Shanker – USA

E-Textbook Discounts

Many major publishers are offering digital e-textbooks at discounted prices of up to 40 to 50% off of printed versions. The downside of digital textbooks is that they may have restrictions on printing and at the end of the semester access to the material usually expires. This means that students can’t go back and read anything after the semester ends, and there is no resale value. John C. — Irvine, CA

Libraries Have Copies

Many college and public libraries have copies of the more popular textbooks. Students are allowed to check them out for short periods of time. It’s always a good idea to ask your librarian if they have the additional budget to buy a few extra copies of textbooks so that more students can benefit from using them. Kendra S. — Franklin, TN

Buying Textbooks Smarter by Timing the Market

Textbooks are very seasonal and if you plan in advance and buy your books at a low time and sell them when they are in high demand you will be able to get back up to 80% of what you have paid

In midsummer, demand on textbooks is lowest. They will significantly drop in price. In the middle of the semester, demand is pretty low too

You should buy them online on, or other websites that sell textbooks. I would not recommend buying textbooks in college bookstore. Since there you will be paying a premium even on used textbooks for the convenience of getting a book right now. You should buy a used textbook in very good or like new condition. If you keep it nice and you will be able to resell it for good money. Try to avoid instructor’s editions and never buy books that are marked “not for resale.” Most buy back companies will not purchase instructor’s editions. And all buyback companies will not purchase books marked “not for resale.”

Caution when buying online

Some people will try to sell these books to you online for cheaper. If a deal looks too good to be true, you can contact the seller to make sure it is real student edition textbook.

Sell your textbook when it is high in demand. Sell a week or two before the next semester or quarter starts. To get the most money back, sell it online to a buy back company

They will pay to you up to 65% of the current going rate. And if you purchased it in low season, it will work out that you will get 80% or even more of what you bought it for. I sold my textbooks to and I have found their payout prices to be excellent. They provided me with a free shipping label that included a tracking number and there were no fees to use their service. Gracie B – Colorado

BC Comics College Text Books are a rip-off

For more ideas to save on college, see our Blog – College Series!

You will also love our money saving tips page for college ideas.

If you have a tip for saving money on college textbooks please leave it in the comments below.

Leave a Reply