Save Money On College Textbooks

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save money on college textbooks

Recently, I wrote an article on college loans. Here is one tip about how to save when you’re in college. As soon as school is out, sell your old books. I don’t know why college texts are one thing we want to always cling too. We save them for 20 years or more, move them 10 times and don’t look at them once. So sell them while they are “newer” and worth something. Now information is updated and changed so fast that the info in a textbook can become dated quickly so there really isn’t any reason to keep them with the idea you will need to look something up.

I have always moved my furniture myself but one time I thought about hiring someone to do it. I called to get information on it and after talking to the people I found out something really interesting. They said that one of the things people save and move the most is old books and magazines. They also told me that because books and magazines are very heavy, they are very expensive to move since most moving companies charge by weight.


P.S. Too funny! As I was looking for a picture to use with this post, I found the above picture. Without realizing it until after I had picked it, I noticed the caption below it said, “I don’t know why but I have a hard time getting rid of my old textbooks. I keep thinking one day I will reference them but I haven’t in all these years but still I keep thinking I will even if I know I won’t.” It’s a shame that I can’t send him my post. 😀

From Mike: You can sell your college textbooks and get a relatively large amount of the money back as long as you sell them right away after the semester is over. If the classes are calling for the same textbooks the next semester, you can usually get quite a bit for them, but if you wait too long, the colleges will call for a newer edition of the book, which renders old ones relatively worthless.

When I was at the university, our bookstore would buy back books for something like one third of their retail price. I discovered that they would also sell used textbooks at half of the retail price, so I would buy them used at the beginning of the semester and sell them back right after the semester was over. Doing this, it cost me a sixth to a quarter of the price of buying new textbooks.

A couple of times I kept textbooks and I always regretted it later. They just cluttered my life and when I did eventually get rid of them, they had lost all their value…

Do you have any ideas about how to save on college textbooks? Comment below!


Photo By: LifeSupercharger


  1. Grandma says

    It is a great idea to sell your books quickly.
    I was at a garage sale and a history major was selling his history books there. They were 5 years old.
    Now my son is a history buff. He reads all the books he can get his hands on.
    So I asked how much the wife wanted for them $10 for about 8 books.
    I told her $5 and she said sold.
    Originally he spent over $1000. new.
    So this summer camping for 2 weeks he should find something in the stash to interest him on those rainy days or days it is too hot to move around much.
    I have started a collection of childrens books and have about 30 which I got for about $5. thrift store finds and the used book store.
    Sell your college ones as soon as you can because you will never recoup your price but you will get more. Also you will be helping some other poor student out.

  2. says

    I’m a college prof, and always caution my students to sell their textbooks as soon as they take their last final of the sememster. Often, publishers/authors put out a new edition each year, and we (profs) have no control over this. Another good place to sell them is Often, they will pay more than the bookstore for a used book.

    • says

      Thanks for the tip Amanda. Sometimes we don’t do things because we don’t have a clue where to go or how to do it so this web site will help.

  3. Sandi says

    When I finished my Airframe and Powerplant courses six years ago, I saved the books to study for the license test (which I still haven’t taken). Our airport managers son was taking the course, so we traded him the books for the yearly gate card fees of $60/yr for 3 years. That was about a third of what we paid for them for my son and myself used, so we came out ok, and the managers son got some good use from them since they were still using the same books. I don’t have my license but I use the knowledge every day researching and purchasing parts and supplies for our customers, and assisting the mechanics however I’m able. I just realized I still have all my notes from class, and haven’t looked at them at all. Time to clear a little clutter from my files!

  4. Bea says

    This subject has always upset me. Updating books every semester is a racket! Things in this world don’t change that much. 2 Plus 2 still equals four, and will always equal four. Some subjects stay the same throughout the ages. Even if some things have been discovered in the last 6 months, or year, on a particular subject then all the college or university should do, is add a small addition, in booklet form, to the textbook for the updates. After all MOST of the info is still relevant and doesn’t change anyway. History changes little. The past is the past. If they discovered something new than just add that as a supplement to the very expensive textbook, instead of making the poor students have to buy a whole new one at the price of $100 or more. It’s just a racket. They could be more intelligent and think of more cost effective ways to add updates. But common sense is rare these days!

  5. Cindy says

    My daughter has been renting her textbooks from Chegg and Amazon. The cost is about a quarter of the new textbook price. She is not collecting her textbooks, and has nothing to resell at the end of the semester. Renting is a win win for everybody.

  6. Trident says

    It’s actually not too late if you have tons of old college text books laying around. There are sites online such as Bigwords that allow you to check prices offered at buybacksites so you can see which site will give you the best deal after you enter the ISBN numbers.

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