Where is the best place to find cheap textbooks?

Expert Answers
M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The best way to acquire a textbook is through second hand ownership/purchase. It saves trees and, maybe someday, we will all learn to live with ebooks and save some space, time, and money in the process.

Aside from the local 2nd hand college bookstores, Amazon (used), Ebay, and the local library, there are online textbook rental places to which I direct my students and, according to plenty of first-hand testimony, these sites seem to be quite the money-saving tool. 

Ecampus and Valorebooks are places where publishing houses post products for students to check out for a price and then return. If you do not return the book, you are charged full-price for it, or for the value of the book at the time that you rent it. 

Collegebookrenter is another site that also rents textbooks. Keep in mind that your local library should have textbooks available as well. Always go there first, and suggest the title if needed be. The more participation a local library gets, the more resources it may be able to request. 

Staples and Barnes and Noble, surprisingly, have also caught up with the needs of the college student of the 21st century and they also offer book rental services. Campusbooks and Bookbyte can offer the books either on E format or in regular hardcopy. Bigwords is another great one.

Now, if you want to do double duty, I would strongly recommend Textbookrecycling.com because they donate to American forestry per transaction. Why not do something ethically sound AND get that textbook you need? 

laurto | Student

I recommend renting and not buying textbooks. It's cheaper and there's a huge chance you probably won't need them after you finish using them for class. Renting textbooks is also better for the environment, because you're recycling. Amazon sells new, used, rental, and eTextbooks. If you end up buying your textbook and regret it, Amazon gives you up to 80% back when you sell them your textbook. 

thewanderlust878 | Student

I live in a small town that is about 45 minutes away from the nearest college/city (and it is a small community college). I don't have many options to purchase textbooks from a bookstore. I take my college courses online because I am still a high school student and I don't have the time or money to drive to the community college everyday. Anyway, the best options for me, and anyone else in a situation similar to mine, are to purchase my textbooks online. I have personally found that Amazon and Barnes & Noble have a pretty wide selection of books, and most all are brand new, however, they are a bit more expensive. If you are looking for a used, cheaper textbook I recommend textbooks.org and bookgator.com

Wiggin42 | Student

Craigslist is also a good option if you live near a college town. I've had the best luck with Amazon and I know that college students get a discount so that's a plus. Chegg.com also has a nice service where you can sell the textbooks back to them to earn some money that way. 

atyourservice | Student

Half-Price books is a really good place for cheap books. And so are amazon and ebay.

StephanieRR | Student

There are some universities that will let you rent textbooks instead of buying them, so before running around to other places because the full price of a textbook scares you, make sure to check in with your particular school to see what the policy is for renting, because it can take quite a bit off the price.

Depending on which school you are attending, there also might be an arrangement made with the school library to have a few of the textbooks on reserve for the class, so it would definitely help if you checked there, because free is as cheap as you can get!

The online sources I know of have already been mentioned a couple times here, so I can't really help with those, but a couple stores you might try are Half-Price Books or Value Village. The selection is pretty random, because it depends on what people have donated lately, but if you do manage to find what you are looking for, the prices are insanely low, so it's worth giving them a try if those stores are near you.

amysor | Student

To find cheap textbooks there are many places to go to.

You can buy used textbooks which are cheaper at amazon.com and ebay.com. Also, you might find some bargains at a website called thriftbooks.

Although, renting a textbook is a lot cheaper than buying a textbook. So you should really consider renting if you will not need them. You can rent them at chegg.com! 

If you do buy a book, you can always keep it in good condition to sell it back. That way, instead of paying like $80, you will only be paying $20!

udonbutterfly | Student

Since I am also starting college this fall I have been searching everywhere in order to find places that have great prices on text books especially since I have hear horror stories of college students that say they have spent hundreds of dollars over textbooks while they could have used an alternative to save those hundreds of dollars lost. Somes sites I have come across that offer great prices on textbooks would Slugbooks.com(where the book can be dropped down to almost 30%-50%), amazon, and half ebay.

moustacio | Student

I would recommend purchasing used textbooks. They are usually cheaper and easier to find.

taangerine | Student

When it comes to purchasing textbooks or books, I recommend shopping at Albris or Amazon. Based on my personal experience, I recommend buying textbooks here because they are cheap and reliable websites. Most of the time the textbooks are priced fairly decent and in good condition.

From my experience: I lost a Calculus textbook and didn't want to pay full price ($150) for another one. I bought one on Amazon for $7 (and shipping was free) which was a steal! The textbook came in 3 days after I purchased it. I was greatly satisfied.

eli468 | Student

Amazon is a great place to purchase textbooks because you can normally do a trade-in once your school term is over and they will give you money back. Renting from them is also good. You can try renting from your school as well.

Other great ways to get a book cheaper is to use sights that have digital textbooks that you can put onto your phone, tablet, or computer. One of these that I have personally used is called coursesmart. This is a great site because it allows you to "try out" the textbook first so you can read up to 30 pages (I believe) and it will allow you to use all of the tools in it. One great thing is for studying or researching for homework is that you have the option to search keywords in the textbook and it will list all the pages with that word or phrase. You can also add highlights and notes to pages and books all through digital means which made it cheaper. It also just retrieves the book back after 180 days so you don't even have to worry about returns if you rent the book.

zumba96 | Student

Amazon is really good. So is chegg and especially half.com

These places provide great cheap textbooks

Jyotsana | Student

The best place where you could find cheap textbooks are ebay and amazon or u could also get the books that are used and are okay. They cost less than the original price. Sometimes you could find on book sale and some college does this book sale. 

Yojana_Thapa | Student

What I would recommend is ebay and amazon!