Here’s Where To Find Affordable Textbooks Online

College ain't cheap.
August 25, 2019
7 mins read

I believe there’s one thing that college students can agree on: Textbooks are downright expensive. E-books are great, and they are generally cheaper than buying or even renting a physical book; it’s a great way to save money — especially when other aspects of college life are pricey enough — but I prefer the feel of a book, since it’s always made studying easier for me.

Usually, I do my textbook shopping online, because it’s always been easier and cheaper than getting it from the campus store. For those who are starting school soon, I would recommend looking online. There are sites out there that have just what you need at a much lower price than you’ll find at the bookstore.

Every now and then, campus stores won’t have what you need for a while, and getting them online is quicker than waiting for the store to restock, especially if your professors move quickly at the start of the semester — just one of the many perks of ordering your texts online.

If you’re worried that your textbooks will arrive late, I would suggest placing those online orders a week or two before classes start if you already know what you need to get. That way, your books will get to you on time, and you’ll have one less thing to worry about during your first week of classes. The good thing about ordering books online is that, sometimes, they arrive quicker than you’d expect them to (at least, in my experience).

A word of advice, though: double-check with your professors to see if you actually need a textbook for the course. Some professors will tell you to get the text, but you rarely need it, if at all. Most will require you to have the book, but it’s good to ask if you’ll actually be using it, just to make sure you don’t waste any money.

While some students prefer the feel of a textbook, others might lean toward e-book options. As mentioned before, they tend to be affordable and less of a hassle overall because you won’t have to carry heavy books around. You might be able to get the best of both worlds by having a textbook to carry and an e-book.

With the fall semester creeping up a lot faster than most of us would like, it’s a good idea to know where you should be getting your textbooks from. For those who don’t really know where to start, here’s a list of a few sites that might help. There are probably more sites that sell used or new books, but these are just a few to help you get started.

1. Chegg

This site is my go-to for books. I rent from here, and they don’t usually take too long to arrive. They are also affordable, and they sometimes offer e-books — and although I don’t use e-books, it’s good to know that they’re available. Chegg is convenient because the site offers study help if you need it, and while I haven’t used the option to get tutoring from Chegg, knowing that it’s available 24/7 is good for your peace of mind.

2. Amazon

I have used it for textbooks every once in a while, and it hasn’t let me down. Books are affordable and, like the option above, you have the choice to rent or buy and, if you are a Prime member, you can get your book delivered to you faster with two-day shipping. Amazon has good deals on new and used books as well, so it doesn’t hurt to poke around and see what you find.

3. ValoreBooks

Not only does this site offer reasonable prices, but it also gives you the option to sell your books when you don’t need them anymore. I haven’t used this one myself, but I’ve heard of other students who have, and it seems to do the job pretty well. You can get new and used books for fair prices on the site, so it is worth checking out if you’re interested in adding somewhere new for your textbook needs. It never hurts to use multiple sites because you can compare the prices and find the best deal.

4. Alibris

I have heard many good things from friends who have used this site for their textbooks, because not only can you get your required books, but you can get music and movies from this site as well. You can get up to 80% off on used textbooks, which is a great deal for students looking to save more, and when you are finished with a class, you also have the option to sell your book. The site gives you instructions on how to do just that, so you can make some money back.

5. Textbooks

The name says it all. And this site has a handy twist: As you’re viewing the prices, you can see the condition that the book is in, which can either make or break your decision to buy it. This is a reliable site that can help you get the materials you need at great prices. The point is to save money when you’re shopping for books, and this site helps you do just that.

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