General Education

5 Alternative Ways to Find College Textbooks

5 Alternative Ways to Find College Textbooks
Image from
Merissa Bury profile
Merissa Bury August 13, 2014

With college textbooks being a major expense for students, try these methods to make the cost more affordable.

Noodle Programs


Noodle Courses

Article continues here

Shopping for textbooks can be hectic. You may find yourself dealing with all sorts of considerations, like price, timing, and quality.

It is difficult to meet all these conditions, especially if you are unaware of all the options available to you. But if you check out these five tips, you will be able to satisfy your college textbook requirements and feel better in the process!

1. Ask around campus

A great way to purchase textbooks is through fellow classmates. Students are always looking to sell their last semester books for profit. If the class curriculum remains unchanged from last semester, you can ensure you receive the exact edition and quality of the book you need. You can also negotiate the price and/or time of exchange in a more personable manner if you purchase books in this way.

2. Go to your library

The library is a perfect place to get textbooks for free. Explore your school library or even your local library for the books you need this semester. Checking periods depend on library policy, so it would be wise to inquire about these rules before discounting other purchasing methods.

If the checking period is too short, you can find some solutions by planning in advance. For example, you might have to make time to check out the book several times throughout the semester, or do your homework at the library and leave the book there. However, if this method doesn’t work out, you may have to consider some alternatives.

3. Check out the library reserve

Professors will often give the library books for students to rent for a couple hours in the library. This is a great option, but be careful. As exams approach, library reserve books get checked out quickly, so it’s wise to have a backup in case you can’t get the book you want at the time you need.

4. Find textbooks online

Amazon and offer used, discounted books with advanced book-search sections that allow you to find the best combination of prices and shipping to get your textbooks in the fastest, least expensive way.

If you are interested in renting books, sites like and Bookrenter are ideal. Compared to retail prices, Chegg prices are discounted anywhere from 30 to 80 percent. You can rent books from Chegg for a semester, a quarter, or a 60-day rental period. Bookrenter rates rely on the actual borrowing period, with a no-questions-asked return policy plus free shipping. With the variety of online stores available, you’re bound to find a site that meets your textbook requirements.

5. Check out the book store

This is probably the most intuitive option for purchasing textbooks. Most universities have their affiliated bookstores that provide all the books students need for the semester. Prices here are generally a bit higher, but these shops are always running sales, especially if books are bought in bulk. You may also receive discounts if you meet other school requirements, such as GPA level or working in certain facilities on campus.

Just remember, if one option doesn’t work, there are other options too. Consider them all as you embark on this textbook search.

If you are looking for other ways to save-up some money, check out this article: Making Last-Minute Money Before Returning to College


Comer, J., & Vijay, N. How to Buy Cheap College Textbooks. wikiHow. Retrieved June 4, 2014, from

Basu, S. (2011, October 4). The 10 Best Sites To Rent Or Buy College TextBooks Cheaply. MakeUseOf. Retrieved June 4, 2014, from MakeUseOf

Fitzpatrick, J. (2010, August 22). Five Best Places to Buy Cheap Textbooks. Lifehacker. Retrieved June 4, 2014, from Lifehacker

Rent your textbooks. Save a bundle. (2006, January 1). Textbook Rentals. Retrieved June 4, 2014, from Book Renter


Noodle Courses


Noodle Programs