The Cheapest Ways to Get College Textbooks

It is common knowledge that college textbooks cost a fortune, but nonetheless, they are necessary for college. The average cost of a textbook is up to $200, meaning you could have to spend about $1,200 a year on books alone. Luckily, there are many cheaper ways to buy the textbooks you need and save money.

Choose E-Books

Most textbooks are available in E-book format, so you'll just need an e-reader to access these cheaper textbooks. Other books, like historical texts or biographies, are also available as E-books. While it may be harder to find a certain page in an E-book, it can save you a lot of money in the long run.

Buy an Older Version

A 2004 study shows that the newly updated versions of your textbooks can cost 58% more than older versions. However, usually the newer versions are only slightly tweaked with changes to the appearance and formatting. This means that buying an older version can get you essentially the same textbook at a much cheaper price. Just compare the two versions to make sure that there aren't any drastic differences before buying; and like the E-books, you would have to be prepared to search for pages, as your textbook would likely have different pages from the new version.

Downloading Online

There are plenty of sites online where you can buy used textbooks for relatively cheap prices. For example, ThriftBooks is a site that sells regular fiction books, non-fiction books, and textbooks. There are many other sites like Thrift Books, so with enough Internet searches, you'll be able to find what you are looking for.


Renting your textbooks from your local campus library or Amazon may sound like more of a hassle, but it can save you a major sum of money. However, rented textbooks have strict return deadlines, so make sure that you'll be able to keep your textbook until the end of the semester, otherwise you might not have the book when you need it most - during finals!