How to save on college textbooks

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - October 15, 2008

Ben Kaplan, author of "How to go to College Almost for Free" and founder of the Avenue of College Dreams website, says college bookstores are one of the most expensive places for students to buy books.

Even used books are usually only discounted about 25% at those stores.

But Kaplan says there are other ways that students can save on the texts they'll need.

First, he said, look for soft-bound, international editions on websites like He says because people in many European countries aren't willing to pay as much as Americans for college textbooks, publishers print less expensive versions of the same books for sale overseas.

Or, consider an electronic version of the book, like those available on They're typically about 50% cheaper


And, he adds that on some of the electronic textbook sites, you can even highlight, take notes or tag passages that you'll need to reference later.

Kaplan also suggests swapping textbooks, either with students in your major who're taking the same courses at different times. Or online using sites like or

Rowan student Jeff Hancock has started his own free textbook site, which is spreading quickly to other New Jersey campuses.

There's even a site where you can rent textbooks. It's called But be warned, if you return a rental book and it's damaged, you'll end up paying full retail for it.

For more information on saving money for college and at college, you might want to check out Kaplan's City of College Dreams live event at the Pennsylvania Convention Center on October 19. Here's the link for more information: City of College

Copyright © 2023 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.