How to Find Cheap College Textbooks

Many people think attending college is the highlight of their lives, but the expense of tuition, living expenses, and more can take their breath away. Buying college textbooks is one of the costs that can be especially difficult to bear.

Each year, students spend more than $1,200 on textbooks and course materials, according to the College Board. If you’re looking for cheap college textbooks and don’t want to break the bank, several resources can help in this post. So, let’s dive in.

Places to Get Cheap College Textbooks

Keeping college affordable is a must, with rising school costs and student loan debt at an all-time high. Fortunately, some ingenuity and research can help you save on college books.

Firstly, avoid the school bookstore. Many students don’t realize that they have alternatives, so they pay high prices for overpriced textbooks at their schools. Get the cheapest college textbooks by considering these alternative online marketplaces:

The StuDocu platform is handy for providing notes and study materials. This platform allows you to save books and notes for almost any university and course into a study list. Students can also access summaries, books like this book on human anatomy, and assignments.

Try your luck at auctions, or buy it right now! Whether you pay for new or used textbooks, you can find them on eBay, especially older editions, if they are still helpful. Additionally, bidding adds to the excitement of an auction. You may have to wait for long shipping times if you do auctions. Prices vary from seller to seller, so the amount you save will change too.

On this site, you can buy both new and used textbooks. Some textbooks offer free shipping. They promise savings of 50–90%. For first-time online book searchers, their explanation of an ISBN is also helpful.

Better World Books

Those who feel charitable can donate used books to Better World Books to eliminate trash and resell them at a discount. Each time you buy a book, the company presents a book to a needy person. Additionally, they provide literacy grants.

There are many places to buy cheap college textbooks on this site, so it’s just another place to do your search. With their search options, you can narrow down the overwhelming number of books by free shipping, price range, genre, subject, and publisher.

Well, this is obvious. You can find cheap textbooks at If you spend $25 or more, you will receive free shipping. There is no shipping charge when you buy an ebook from their catalog. In case of dropping a class, they offer 30-day returns. 

Other Tips For Finding Cheap College Textbooks

You can save money on college textbooks by using these six tips along with checking out the above college textbook marketplaces:

Explore the Library

Your campus library offers free textbook access. If you’re looking for the latest edition, it is unlikely to be available for a long-term loan. However, you might find an older edition if you’re quick off the mark. Your classmates will fiercely compete for copies, so act now if you want one.

Alternatively, you might find the textbook at a local public library if it is a popular title. Off-campus searches mean less competition from other students. Regardless of your situation, ensure you have enough time to return the book before getting hit with heavy fines. If not, borrowing from the library would cost more than buying a brand-new copy.

Consider Open Source Books

Students are increasingly becoming aware of the burden that expensive books place on them. It is becoming increasingly common for teachers to use open-source texts in their classrooms. You can download free open-source books from the internet. Students can download and read them on their smartphones because the authors provide them with an unrestricted license. Achieving this can save you a lot of money on college textbooks.

Two of the largest sites for open-source books are College Open Textbooks and OpenStax. Like expensive books, they offer peer-reviewed texts from industry leaders. However, they are free to read and download. You can check with your school library or a specific professor to see if the school or professor uses open-source books. Alternatively, you can speak with the instructor directly.


There are plenty of ways to save on college books when you shop at your campus bookstore, but the prices can be eye-watering. The options are endless, whether you buy them used, rent them for a while, sell them back at the end of the semester, or get more creative and find a way to share them with your classmates. Next semester, you don’t have to spend a fortune on textbooks.