How to Save Money on Textbooks

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The cheapest way to buy textbooks can be described in a single word. Don’t.
Textbooks are costly and once you’re done with them you’ll have to try selling them to someone else. Trust me on this. I’m sitting with an entire box of matric study guides as well as textbooks for freshman. The worst part is the syllabus for both have changed so my books are useless.
Learn a lesson from me and try as much as possible to not buy textbooks. Instead consider these options:

1) Rent: I’m not sure if this is an option in South Africa but I have seen several sites in the US advertising for textbook rentals. The good thing about renting is that you get rid of the textbook once you’re done with it. Unfortunately you can’t highlight or make additional notes in the book.

2) Borrow: Check the local library for textbooks. I’ve never actually found any of my books but it’s worth a try.

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3) Download- Online sites have ebook versions of books. This way you never have to worry about reselling the book or a heavy bag.

4) Photocopy- Your campus library should have a copy of all reading material. If all else fails, photocopy the necessary notes. Sometimes this may be close to impossible (ie the book is too large to copy or is missing several pages) but if you’re barely going to use the book, it’s a great substitute. I’ve paid R120 for a photocopy of a R300 book. That’s R200 I could eat. Or pay fees (I’m lying. I’m going to eat it).

Buying

Sometimes you just have to give in and buy the book. Here are a few cheap ideas for books.

Second-hand: My Management textbook was too large to photocopy and the sections were getting cut off. I paid R250 for a second hand copy from a friend(everyone else was selling theirs for R400) and it was so worth the great marks I received later on. Bonus? She had added additional notes.
Check your student website as well as second-hand stores for textbooks if you can’t find them anywhere else. Sometimes these stores buy back which takes away another hassle. Yay!

What you should never ever do if you end up having to buy textbooks, is buy them new. You don’t need that hassle or expense. Talk to other students who have done the module to find out if you really need the textbook. And if you do then compare prices before buying.

College is expensive enough on its own. Any way to save money is a great idea. Especially if it means you don’t spend on a book you’ll only need for a few months.

7 thoughts on “How to Save Money on Textbooks

  1. Darrian says:

    Another great way to save money on Textbooks is renting/buying the eBook version! I know I’ve found more than a few of my textbooks that way and nearly half the price!

  2. Ingrid says:

    SO true oh my goodness! I’m lucky that my minor doesn’t require too many technical-type books but it still adds up fast! Great tips!
    xo, Ingrid

  3. Jerneja says:

    I usually wait a week or two to see if we’re actually going to use the book, and then get a copy of the useful pages or get it at the library. I have no idea how my wallet would survive buying all ”neccessary” textbooks! Awesome tips! 🙂

    • ShaniceSingh says:

      That’s such a great tip! Last year I got over-eager because I thought I knew how to save on books and ended up photocopying more chapters than I needed and I bought an additional unnecessary book.

  4. Chloe says:

    I totally agree on downloading! I bought a kindle (saves me money in the long run) and I’ve been either downloading and converting pdfs or renting the e-versions of my textbooks on amazon.

    http://www.chloecake.blogspot.com

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