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What Upcoming Freshmen Need to Know About Buying Textbooks

There are plenty of surprises that come with starting college — homesickness, roommate quirks, more independence, the dreaded “freshman 15” — but one area where you don’t need to be surprised is textbooks. Sure, textbooks tend to cost a fortune. One book could cost more than $100 retail price. Yet just because you’re new to the college scene doesn’t mean you have to learn how to save money the hard way. Most of the time, you can cut costs significantly with just a little research; all you have to know is how. To help you skip the sticker shock of books this semester, here are top tips to keep in mind when buying textbooks:

  1. Buy early. If you wait until classes start to shop for books, you could wind up paying top dollar just to get the book you need for an assignment right away. Likewise, you could be too late for previously owned and/or discounted copies that other students have purchased before you could. Avoid this problem by finding out what books you need early and shopping around.
  2. Buy online. The beauty of buying online is you find books at better prices, all from the convenience of your computer, tablet or phone. Simply type in a title or ISBN number, and find what you need — no searching around aisles to figure out where your book might be. Your book comes straight to you in a matter of days — and, as long as you shopped early, within plenty of time for your classes to start.
  3. Buy used. Simply because a book was previously owned, its price goes down dramatically. This means when you buy used books, you save a lot of costs. Since most books will only be necessary for the duration of the class they’re required in, it only makes sense to buy a copy for a cheaper rate.
  4. Buy just what you need. When buying books, always look for options that come with a return policy. That way, if you find out your professor isn’t going to use a certain book, you can still return it once class starts.
  5. Buy international. International copies of textbooks are often exactly the same as American versions, but with different covers and book jackets. Plus, simply because they’re from another country, they’re available at cheaper rates. When you’re looking for a bargain on a book, check for international copies.
  6. Sell when you’re done. A great way to recoup some of your costs each semester is to sell the books you’re done using. By getting rid of the book, you make a little money and free yourself to buy the books you need for the next set of courses, too.
  7. When you can’t buy, rent. If you know you won’t need your books after classes are done, consider renting them. Renting can cut costs by as much as 90 percent, providing you with the materials you need just when you need them.

To find the best deals on books — early, online, used, internationally, to buy, to rent or to sell back — come to TextbookRush. As your online campus bookstore, we’re happy to provide new and used copies of millions of books. We provide free shipping on all orders over $35 and all our products come with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee.

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About the author

Alison Blankenship
Senior Marketing Manager
I graduated Cum Laude from The Ohio State University (Go Bucks!) with degrees in Marketing and Communications. I’ve been working in the textbook industry for over 10 years, and my work has been featured by College Confidential, Mercy College of Health Sciences, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pennsylvania Tribune, Montana Technological University, Oregon Live, and other organizations.

I’m an obsessive lover of dachshunds and a passionate reader of books. I’m an avid Pinner and poster, and I’m all over our Facebook page, Twitter account, Instagram and Pinterest.