Saving on college textbooks

August 17, 2009 If you buy just one college textbook new, it can cost as much as $100 and The College Board says students spend an average of $1,000 a year on books and supplies!

But there are a lot of ways you can get what you need at a deep discount or better yet without paying a dime!

When you are buying used books, buy in stores or preferably online, as early as possible, and comparison shop websites that offer international editions.

They're usually significantly cheaper than the US versions with only slight differences. is one option.

And you may be able to get free textbooks online. On Freeload Press, you can download a limited selection at no cost, but you'll have to fill out a short survey and look at ads that are placed within the textbook.

Bartleby is another free download site.

Also consider renting your textbooks. says it can save you up to 85-percent. is a similar company.

You can also download e-textbooks and save about 50-percent off the price of new print copies.

To go digital, try and

And finally, don't forget to ask your professors if they have sample copies you can borrow and see if your library has copies.

Also sometimes a professor doesn't use all the books on the so-called required list so ask former students or TAs to see what you really need to buy.

Meantime, here's another option for renting. The nation's largest textbook publisher, Cengage Learning, will start renting books directly to students this fall at up to 70 percent off the regular price.


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