How to save money on textbooks

Is it a good time to consider effective strategies to save money on textbooks?

Well, purchasing brand new sets of textbooks every year can be pricey. In fact, it’s actually the biggest cost in education after paying for classes, housing, and meals.

According to information from CollegeBoard, students should prepare to spend around $1,298 each year on books and supplies while attending public universities for four years.

However, you can control how much you spend on college books and other supplies.

It takes some planning and being okay with making some adjustments, but the work will payoff.

While purchasing brand new textbooks from your local bookstore might be easy, there are other ways you can explore to spend less money.

The growing trend of using electronic textbooks (e-textbooks) and renting textbooks, along with a thriving market for secondhand books, has led to more affordable choices for students.

How much do textbooks cost?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics shared that the prices of college textbooks went up by 7% between 2020 and 2023.

This increase happened faster than the rise in tuition costs, which might cause some concern for students trying to manage their budgets.

Not every textbook is the same, and their prices can differ.

Books needed for subjects like art history, which fall under humanities, usually cost less compared to books required for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) subjects such as chemistry or calculus.

Often, a single book can cost more than $100, and in some cases, even over $200.

This applies whether you’re attending a higher-priced private university or a more affordable community school.

Why do they cost so much?

Books can be really pricey for a few reasons.

To start with, you might have to read from different books for just one class. And those big collections of different writings have to pay money to lots of authors.

When the subject is super specific and there aren’t many books about it, that can make the costs go up too. They also have to make new versions of the books to keep up with all that new info.

Not only that, but educators have a big say too. Unlike high school where a group decides what books to use, in college, the educators get to decide.

Moreover, sometimes they don’t think too much about how much the books cost.

So, all in all, a mix of things like copyrights, precise subjects, updates, online stuff, what educators choose, and not many used options all work together to make college books cost a lot.

11 best ways to save money on textbooks

By combining different tactics and being resourceful, you can significantly reduce the financial burden of purchasing textbooks for your studies.

1. Pick Used Books 

When you choose secondhand books, you can save a lot – sometimes even half the cost or more!

2. Rent Books 

Some websites let you borrow textbooks for a little while. You can get them for a low monthly subscription.

3. E book  

Ebooks are like books on your tablet or computer. They can be cheaper and easy to carry around.

4. Library Lookout  

At school libraries, you might find textbooks you can use without paying.

5. Buy Older Editions 

Older book versions can still have what you need to learn. Plus, they’re often cheaper.

6. Share with Friends 

If you and your friends split the cost, you can have the book without spending as much.

7. Online Deals Detective 

The internet has special places where textbooks cost less. Keep your eyes open for them.

8. Cashback Books 

Some stores give you money for your used books. It’s like recycling and getting a reward.

9. Swap online 

Try websites like BookMooch and BookCrossing where people trade books, even school ones. List books you want to give away, and find books you want from others.

10. Free Book Club 

If your school is in the Open Education Network, you can enjoy free educational books from the Open Textbook Library. More than 600 colleges are in on this, giving students access to free, okay-to-use books.

11. Get them from Alumni 

Post on your school’s Facebook groups, ask your department for help, or check boards to find people who want to sell their old textbooks.

Do colleges still use textbooks?

While lots of colleges and universities are using digital tools and online learning, books are still crucial for learning in college.

Even though times are changing with there being e-books, free online materials, and digital classrooms, books still matter a lot.

A lot of schools are using free materials called OERs to help students save money.

Also, many classes now have videos and interactive lessons mixed so it’s not just regular books anymore.

Schools know that books let students touch and write on them, which helps them learn.

They’re always looking for the best way to use both real books and digital tools. So, even though learning is getting different, books are still important in college.

In summary

Becoming skilled at saving money on textbooks can really help lessen the financial weight of education. By checking out choices like digital versions, borrowing, and buying used books, students can decide wisely, considering both their studies and their wallets.

Using technology and online tools is an important approach in this effort, allowing students to get important materials for their courses without overspending.

For more detailed ideas on affordable learning strategies and tips to make the most of your learning adventure, head over to our EDU Blog today!

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