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Textbooks: finding cheap used textbooks

If you thought that the price of classes were expensive, wait until you get a load of the price of textbooks for those classes. It sure would be nice if you could find a way to get the books for classes at a cheaper price. Free textbooks, cheap textbooks, renting textbooks, and selling your used textbooks (some type of buyback plan) have been ideas for a long time. As far as we can see, there are four options to try in order to get those books at a better price.


See if your local college library has the book. Most libraries have policies restricting the purchase of textbooks. There are good reasons for this, but the economical cost alone of trying to keep up with purchasing each professor's class textbook is enough of a good reason. Still, some college textbooks find their way into the circulating collections, so you need to try to see if the library has the book.

Many college libraries have a "reserve" collection where teachers place materials on the shelf for their students to access during the semester. Many times the textbook is included in these materials that are placed on "reserve." Often, the student can check the book out of reserve for a couple of hours. It is a way to access the textbook for free, if the book is on reserve. It is inconvenient because you cannot check the book out from reserve for long BUT the book is available for free.

Interlibrary Loan is a possibility. Your local college may not have the textbook but another library somewhere in the country may have the book. You can ask your library to check to see if your textbook is available from another library. Usually, interlibrary loan is a free service.

Using the library is an option but this option has its disadvantages. The main disadvantage is that if you check the book out of the library, usually, you need to return the book within three or four weeks. You can try to renew the book but it is likely that someone else (from your class) wants the book, too. The same is true for interlibrary loaning the book. If you receive the book from another library, the loaning library is NOT going to want to loan the book out for ten to fifteen weeks for a semester.

Following, I have provided my own opinions about finding used textbooks. However, BookScouter is another online bookstore that provides more information about selling, buying, and renting textbooks. They provide a list/information about other bookstores that you may want to contact about textbooks.


Sadly, purchasing the book may be the best option. However, it does not mean that you have to pay a high, retail price for the textbook. You have options as many bookstores now offer used textbooks and cheap textbooks. Many stores allow students to sell their used textbooks to them and through this buyback option, many bookstores will offer used, cheap textbooks: no longer has a textbook rental program, but some affiliates may offer good prices.

eCampus will sell used textbooks. (Part of eBay) will sell used textbooks.


RENTING textbooks. Can you believe it? You have the ability to rent science textbooks, math textbooks, and a variety of college textbooks. The idea has been around for decades, but some companies are now doing this. They are renting college textbooks. It is a relatively new practice so we will present just three links to three companies. If you use any of these services, we would like to hear your feedback on how this worked for YOU. We picked these particular companies because of reputation and popularity. Here are a few things to keep in mind: Textbook Rentals for renting textbooks. for renting textbooks.


Get a store to BUY BACK your textbook after you are done with it. Most on-campus college bookstores have buyback plans for used textbooks. For many years, students have had the idea of selling their used textbooks. Now, many online bookstores will buy back used textbooks if the students are willing to sell their used textbooks. At the end of the semester, many on-campus bookstores will offer a time when they will buy back the textbook that they sold the student at the beginning of the semester. Some on-campus bookstores give a decent price for the "used" college textbook, but all too often students are concerned that the buyback price is not good enough. For a number of reasons, some on-campus bookstores will not buy back the textbook. Students have options when trying to recover some of the cost of the used textbook. If you want to sell your used textbook, then the following online organizations will offer some TYPE of buyback plans for purchasing some specific textbooks. Some of these online bookstores will provide you the ability to sell your book, online. Please remember that it is highly likely that bookstores will NOT purchase every textbook that a student has to offer. Textbook Rentals will allow you to sell your book, online. will purchase some textbooks from you OR you can try to sell your books ON their website. (Part of eBay) will sell used textbooks.


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