Regardless of whether you are a freshman or a graduating senior, you will agree that buying textbooks can be expensive. Especially in the bookstore, you might find yourself breaking the bank to purchase all the books and supplies you need for a class. Like me, you may wonder if there are ways to get your books other than through the campus bookstore. Here’s a list of suggestions that might help you save money on your books:
ASK FRIENDS AND CLASSMATES WHO HAVE PREVIOUSLY TAKEN THE CLASS
Before doing anything, first ask your friends and other classmates that you know have taken the course if you can borrow, buy or have their old textbooks — odds are, they still have them. If you borrow or buy your textbooks from them, you can save yourself time and money.
RENT FROM THE BOOKSTORE INSTEAD OF BUYING THEM
Consider checking whether your books can be rented at the bookstore. Renting your textbooks can be cheaper than buying them and it’s also good if you don’t want to end up with books that you’ll never use again. However, keep in mind that renting is not available for every textbook at the bookstore.
THE PUBLIC LIBRARY
Even though most public libraries aren’t allowed to have textbooks, they sometimes do have other books that are needed for English, writing, history or literature classes. Public libraries are great places to find books for these types of classes, and the best thing is, you can borrow them for free. If there’s a waitlist on a particular book you need, make sure to put a hold on it early and also remember to check different libraries that may have items available as ebooks. Some good public library systems to check out are King County, Seattle, Tacoma and Puyallup. There may be other good public library systems depending on where you live.
THE UW LIBRARY
The UW Tacoma library has limited copies of textbooks available for checkout. The library also has some textbooks available on the library website as ebooks which are able to be viewed or downloaded as PDF files. To access ebooks, go to the UWT library homepage and search for the title of a book. Unfortunately, not every book is available at the library. This is where buying your textbooks from others locally and online become options.
OfferUp is a website and mobile app that lets you sell and buy things locally. OfferUp is a good option for trying to get your textbooks because it only shows you offers from people in a certain area, and it doesn’t come with the hassle of trying to buy something online. You can get products faster locally than if you were waiting for something to be shipped to you.
eBay is great site for bidding and buying, but did you also know that you can buy your textbooks there? Getting them from eBay might take a while depending on where the books are being sent from, but it can be cheaper than buying from the bookstore.
Amazon is a common choice for getting textbooks. On Amazon, you have the options of buying, renting and even selling back your textbooks. Amazon’s prices for buying and renting textbooks are usually cheaper than at the bookstore and books can be rented for longer than one quarter.
Chegg.com is an online site that specializes in textbook rentals. On Chegg, you have the option to rent and purchase books and ebooks. Books and ebooks on Chegg are generally cheaper than some other sites and orders that are over $35 get free shipping. Like Amazon, you can also sell back your old textbooks (beware, you don’t get a lot back for selling).
BARNES & NOBLE
Barnes & Noble is another option, though I wouldn’t highly recommend buying your textbooks here or on the B&N online store because they usually sell at full-price. However, Barnes & Noble does have an online marketplace that sells items for less and the store does offer deals and coupons when several items are purchased at one time (such as $10 off $100). You can rent books from their online store, and Barnes & Noble also buys back textbooks.
CHECK ONLINE FOR PDF FILES
As a last resort, you can always surf the web and see if your textbooks are available online as PDF files. While this doesn’t always come up with results, you might get lucky.
TIPS & WARNINGS:
Be careful of scammers and other shady sites that just want your money. Especially if you want to sell back your books, make sure the site is credible and has good reviews. If you’re using a site like eBay or going on OfferUp, check the seller’s rating and feedback. If you can, set up accounts at multiple library systems so that you have more places to get your books if one library does not have it or if there are too many holds. If buying an older edition of a textbook, check in with your professor first to make sure it will still work for the course.