Textbooks for less: Where to buy your course textbooks for cheap

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:


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.


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.


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 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 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 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.


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.


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.


Leticia Bennett

Leticia is the News Editor for The Ledger. She is a Senior majoring an Urban Studies and hopes to become an Urban Planner. She is interested in all things happening around campus and loves to learn new things and meet new people.