One of the most annoying things about being a college student is the absurd amount of money we have to pay the textbooks necessary for our classes. What’s even more annoying is the mandatory $100 you have to pay for a MyMathLab code for your math class! (If your professor doesn’t deal with MyMathLab – consider yourself lucky!)

Regardless of someone’s major, everyone in college is still paying out the wazoo for their mandatory textbooks. When I was a freshman, the only thing I knew about buying textbooks was to avoid using the University bookstore at all cost. The school bookstore ripped students off, overprice the books and it’s like fighting an army of confused college students within the isles of all the books trying to locate the ones you do need.

After my first semester as a freshman back in 2013, I refused to pay full price for textbooks if I could. However, everyone will have those mandatory science or math courses that require a lab fee and the purchase of a paper envelope that only contains the code for online lab access – which is usually right around $100, if not more.

There is no way to get around these fees for the codes, but if you’re in a major that doesn’t require many math classes or lab-based classes, you should only have to purchase these code maybe three-four times tops while you’re in undergrad.

When I no longer had to purchase those overly-expensive codes for math classes, I was able to get the total I spent on textbooks each semester to be ~$80! There were two main ways I was able to find all my necessary textbooks for this cheap:

Shopping Around

I think this is the most important part when it comes to buying your textbooks. It’s vital to browse around the internet before finally purchasing your book. A few semesters ago, my university’s book store wanted to charge me $120 for a used book I needed for class. I shook my head and walked out, knowing I could probably find it cheaper elsewhere.

And I did!

Websites like Chegg, CampusBooks, BookHolders (if you’re on the east coast in select places!) and my personal favorite, Amazon all have great textbook buying and renting programs for students.

Most of these sites have the option for you to compare the prices of the textbook you need with other sites also selling your book so you’re ensured to get the best deal.

Another great thing about Amazon is their textbook trade-in program. Amazon will let you search for the textbooks you’ve stockpiled from past semesters and then gives you an estimated trade-in price that turns into an Amazon gift card! I just recently discovered this feature this within the last few months, and it’s great! After searching for the textbooks I had and no longer needed, they ended up adding up about $100 using this program!

Shopping around online is so important when it comes to textbook buying. The majority of the time you may think you’re getting what you need for the cheapest, but in reality another site will have it for even cheaper! Keep bookmarks or a written list of all the different sites you find your book on and their prices, and then make a decision one you feel you have as much information as possible!

Facebook Groups

Now I’m not sure if this is the same for all colleges, but my school has made Facebook pages for each graduating class. So for example, theres a Towson University Class of 2018 Facebook page, Class of 2019, Class of 2020, and so on. Current and incoming students are encouraged to join these pages to connect with likeminded students and discover things going on around campus.

One thing that is really beneficial about these Facebook pages is people selling their old textbooks. More than often, these kids are selling the textbooks for much cheaper than what they paid for them and may have even highlighted the information you’ll need for your class! This is a great way to talk to other people within your major, learn about different professors and get a good deal on the textbooks that everyone has to use for the classes required for the major.

This is probably the easiest and quickest way to possibly find the textbook you’re looking for, since you can probably just meet up with the person on campus to get your book!

I know most people are back in school already for spring semester, but I’m still on break until January 29th. However, I’m taking two online classes so I’ll need to start searching for my books soon! I can update you guys later in this post with the total amount of money I spent on textbooks for my last semester once I’ve gotten them! I hope this post helped you when it comes to textbook buying and renting and let me know in the comments if you have another way of searching for your textbooks!


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