Buy early plan ahead and avoid buying just before classes begin because prices rise when supplies begin to decrease. Textbooks sell fast and furiously over a short period of time, so the best prices can be found early when the numbers of books online is far greater.
Ask professors to supply reading lists as early as possible. Buying early not only allows you to buy the cheapest option available, but also choose a slower, less expensive shipping method.
Buy used – secondhand textbooks offer large savings and it is not hard to find significant savings of $50 or more on list prices. It’s possible to find books at less than $10, sometimes even $1, if you are prepared to use a book that is several years old.
Consider older editions as they offer massive savings on list prices – if there have been no major updates to your subject (eg biology, chemistry) then an older edition will be fine. Contact course tutors and simply ask if an older edition will suffice – some courses change very little over the years.
Consider international edition* textbooks. An international edition is a textbook that has been published outside of the US and can be drastically cheaper than the US edition. Learn more
* The publishers of International Editions generally do not authorize the sale and distribution of International Editions in the United States and Canada and such sale or distribution may violate copyrights and trademarks of the publishers of such works.
Use the ISBN for rapid searching. Every book published since 1970 has an ‘International Standard Book Number’ (it used to be a 10-digit unique number but is now 13-digit) and searches by ISBN locate the exact book and disregard titles with similar names.
Free shipping – Look for the growing number of independent booksellers offering free shipping on new and used textbooks.
Don’t write in textbooks as it helps keep its value for resale. (It’s also possible to sell textbooks at AbeBooks.com through its very competitive Buyback program that includes free shipping.)
Compare our prices to bookstore prices. Our stock changes hourly and we often have the cheapest options available.
Double up – most booksellers offer a shipping discount on orders of multiple textbooks (check the bookseller’s terms and conditions)
Buy Local – not only does this help save the planet, but by choosing textbooks from a bookseller in your area you can find lower shipping costs
Sell your used textbooks back using AbeBooks Buyback program once you’re done with them. It’s easy to use, shipping is free, and payment is quick.
Looking for more ways to save? Check out our other Student Lifestyle pages: