here.Addendum: Today I just learned about Flat World Knowledge and their e-book textbook model so I had to add it to this post. You can check out the story
The price of textbooks is one of the biggest expenses outside of tuition that college students face.
However if you are aware of all of your options you can purchase all of your textbooks without breaking the bank. There are a many ways you can save money on textbooks.
As a student and scholar I am constantly buying books either for class or research. I am always looking at new ways to protect my cash flow. Here are a few of my favorite options.
FIND THE BEST PRICE
It used to be that the best way to find the cheapest price was to purchase a used book. While that may still be the case for some of your textbooks, one does not necessarily have to purchase a used book in order to secure the best price. If you do decide to go the used route you can conduct your search completely online. There are several sites you can use to compare prices for your text books. I usually look for used books on Amazon but here are a few other options:
• Half Price Books (half.com)
• Bookfinder (bookfinder.com)
• iChapters (iChapters.com)
• eFollet (eFollet.com)
• Craigslist (craigslist.com)
Audiobooks is another great option. If you signup for a premium account you can purchase audiobooks for as little as $7.59. I paid monthly and earned credits. I will admit it is harder to find traditional textbooks in audiobook format but it is always improving. Some of the books I have on audiobook that I have used in class are 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell, and Good to Great by Jim Collins.
There is a Kindle reader for PC, Mac, iPhone, iPod Touch, Blackberry, and iPad. The Kindle reader is free. Here is an example. As part of my doctoral studies, I took a leadership course. The textbook for the course was Leadership by Northouse. The list price of the book is $84.95. It is listed on Amazon for $64.90 and the Kindle is even cheaper at $58.78. Not only is the Kindle version cheaper but you always have access to it.
Renting is another option these days. There are several sites that have come to my attention recently that allows you to rent textbooks. Sites such as Chegg.com, BookRenter.com, and College Book Renter now allow you to rent a book for a limited amount of time for free. The model works in the same way as most video rental services such as Netflix. The books are shipped to you via mail. Barnes and Noble (http://www.bn.com/) also rents textbooks.
Depending on how old the book is, in other words if the copyright has expired, you can gain access to the book at Google Books (http://books.google.com/). I have to admit I most use Google Books to look up references in books as part of my research. But you never know, the idea here is keep your options open.
There is also a site called PaperBackSwap (http://www.paperbackswap.com/). It is a book trading site. I just recently traded someone for What Makes the Great Great by Dennis Kimbro. Since this option is free I figured I would include it under the Find the best Price heading. Also do not forget to check your local library.