I have spent that last 3 years finding the cheapest college books on the planet. And now with two college age students, I have to be even more prudent. If you are looking for ways to cut down on the cost of supplying your child with his/her required text-books, take a look at how I did it. NOTE: this only covers buying the physical book as we did not download any books through a reader which might be even cheaper.
1. We would get the list of required books from the University student account website
2. We would look at the cost of each book if purchased directly from the University bookstore
3. I would then open up browsers to
a. Paperbackswap.com (free on-line book trading site)
e. Chegg (on-line rental)
f. Barnes and Noble.
Here is a real life example. My daughter needed a book entitled “Research Methods in Social Relations (7th Edition)” Hoyle and Judd.
School Price: $140.56 new/$98 used:
a. Paperbackswap.com: Not available
b. Ebay: $92 - $109
c. Amazon.com: $64.96 - $71.01
d. Half.com: $61.00
e. Chegg: $42.99 as a Rental
f. Barnes and Noble: $71.74
What I paid: $42.23 from Amazon two weeks prior to writing this article. Amazon’s inventory changes daily. I ordered as soon as we found out what book she needed and avoided ordering at the last minute when inventory levels are lower.
I have been successful at getting free books from paperbackswap.com. All you need is to sign up for an account and list some of your old books that are just lying around. After listing them, people can electronically request a book from you. When this happens, you mail it at your expense (a couple bucks at the most) and you then receive a credit. You can use this credit to pick from among the thousands of books listed on this site. I have been trading books on paperbackswap.com for over a year and I love it.
I have probably ordered the most books from Amazon, but I have used every site listed at one time or another after comparing prices. After the semester is over, I re-sell the books on Amazon and usually re-coup at least half of my money if not more. Amazon also has a buy-back program that pays pretty well if the book is still being used.
College is extremely expensive, so you have to find ways to save money wherever you can. Hope this helps anyone out there that is trying to figure out – how in the heck am I going to pay for all this?? Good luck and remember to shop around – it really does pay!
Do you have any suggestions for places to buy college books not already mentioned? If so, I would love to hear from you!