I’m always looking for ways to spite my college bookstore. Their prices are OUTRAGEOUS and I am not about it. I’ve been hustling for my textbooks online since the dawn of time. This post is a follow up to this one, since I feel I have a lot more to say about textbooks. As an English major, it’s not uncommon for me to have to buy 30+ books in one semester. Therefore, I consider myself an expert by now! I’ve probably purchased more than 150 textbooks in my academic career. No exaggeration. Please excuse me while I weep for my bank account.
Here’s my step by step guide to purchasing textbooks without having to sell your first born child.
Step 1: Check the book list AND the syllabus
You obviously need to consult the book list for your college to determine which books you’ll need for your classes. Don’t just grab your wallet and run off to the virtual college bookstore with this information–hold up for a minute! If it’s available, check your class syllabus to see if you’ll actually even be using these books. Sometimes, professors will require a book that you only end up using once or twice! If this is the case, it’s possible you’ll be fine opting out of purchasing it altogether. You can also check with your school or local library to see if there are copies available to be checked out.
Step 2: Check your class Facebook or selling page
Still hold off on grabbing your wallet just yet! Just about every college has their own class Facebook page or selling listing. Check these to see if any of your peers are selling books you need. These students are usually desperate to get rid of their books, especially graduating seniors. You can get a good deal on your books through classmates, and you can also sell your own books to them. Win win!
Step 3: Find the best price!
Now that you’ve checked your syllabus and your class Facebook with no luck, it’s time to get down to business. There are a lot of different online services for buying and selling books, but my favorite so far is ValoreBooks which lists the lowest prices from competing vendors around the web. Basically, they do the search for you so you don’t have to check a billion websites. You can find books up to 90% off your college bookstore price, so this is basically the best thing ever. It’s my favorite way of snubbing the college bookstore and their crazy prices! Click here to buy textbooks for less!
Use the ISBN number for each textbook to find price listings. It’s important to use the ISBN number rather than just entering the authors name and the title because it’s possible that there’s several editions and you definitely don’t want to get the wrong one! Once you type it in click search.
Step 4: Choose whether you want to purchase the book new, used, or rentals.
Now you can compare prices for new, used, and rentals.
I don’t know why you would ever choose to buy a new book when you could just not, but sometimes if the book is new you only are able to choose a new textbook. But that’s not common, so for the most part you are looking at choosing between renting your book or buying it used. Here’s the difference.
- Used – Buying a textbook used usually saves you a lot of money, and is particularly great if you like to write in or highlight books. You are also able to sell these textbooks back when you’re done with them as long as they are in decent condition, so you have the chance to make some of your money back. Be sure to also check the condition of the books, which is listed under more information. All the books I’ve received from ValoreBooks have always been in good condition, but the quality is listed just in case.
- Rental – This is usually the cheapest option, but you lose the ability to sell the book back at the end of the semester. You are literally renting the book, so it’s not yours. This means you can’t write in it or mark it in any way during the class. The length of time you need to rent the book for also can lower or raise the price.
Whichever you choose is up to you! I love to write in my books, so usually I choose to buy them used unless it’s significantly more money. If you choose to rent your books, ValoreBooks will pay the cost of shipping to return the book at the end of the semester. Similarly, you can sell your books back through this link and get some of your money back!
Step 5: Purchase and confirm
Now that you’ve chose to either buy or rent your book, you’re going to continue on to checkout. Make sure you fill out all fields accurately and use the right address! I always chose to ship my books directly to campus when I lived in a dorm to avoid having to travel with them from home to school, but that’s up to you.
Step 6: Sell back any books at the end of the semester!
Once the semester ends, you’re going to want to get as much money back on your order as possible! Click here to sell your books for cash! Once on the sell back page, enter all your ISBN numbers for your textbooks. Click “get quote” to start making money! Make sure your books are all in good condition to ensure you’ll get your money back.
Step 7: Get paid!
You’ll see a list of quotes for all your submitted ISBN numbers followed by a grand total. Shipping is free, so you don’t have to worry about that. Just click continue to confirm and head to the payment page. You can choose to be paid via paypal (fastest) or check. I always prefer paypal because I like instant gratification, but it’s up to you.
That’s it! Buying textbooks in college doesn’t have to be a pain! Selling textbooks isn’t so bad either! I hope this guide was helpful to you, feel free to leave any questions in the comment section!
This post contains affiliate links. As always, the thoughts and opinions are mine alone.