Money-saving options for buying textbooks

Liliana Hall

Buying textbooks can be especially stressful when you also have tuition, rent and a car bill to pay off, but don’t allow them to be the source of your debt because you are too unmotivated to find deals. In order to relieve a little stress, The Daily Texan has compiled a list of seven different ways to save money
on textbooks.

1. Buy used

It’s tempting to march into the college bookstore and spend money on overpriced textbooks out of convenience, but just because your professor’s name is on it, does not mean that you can’t find it somewhere else. As soon as you receive your syllabi for all of your classes, search the ISBN numbers on Amazon or Chegg. Buying used is not only a great way to save money on books, but if you are the type to highlight every other word, buying used is better as opposed to renting because you don’t want to pay a hefty fee when you return a half-highlighted book.

2. Wait

For those who stress about being unprepared for the first day of class and still haven’t purchased the “required” reading materials, don’t fret because you may not need your textbook at all. The professor may specifically say the book is unnecessary as long as you show up to class every day, or you can ask people who have taken the class before on UT Facebook groups. The moral of the story is, go to class.

Disclaimer: If the professor said it is necessary, buy the book used or rent it.

3. Rent

If you are not the type who writes all over the textbook, renting textbooks is the way to go. There areplenty of websites that allow you to rent books including Amazon, Chegg and Barnes & Noble. The University Co-op also has the option of renting. While renting can be the cheapest option for some textbooks, if you return the book late you might as well have purchased it in the first place. So mark your calendar or set a reminder on your phone.

4. Buy through Facebook

There is a Facebook page called UT Buy/Sell/Trade/Free used exclusively by thousands of UT students. It’s not uncommon for students to post books for sale or desperate calls for help when regarding a textbook they need for a class. Take advantage of this outlet because you might be able to score a good deal on
used textbooks.

5. Download PDF versions online

If all else fails, you might be able to find a PDF online available to download for free or at least a less expensive price than buying a physical copy. Amazon has the option to download e-textbooks and e-books for the Kindle.

6. Check the library for resources

ThejPerry-Castañeda Library may smell like your grandparents’ basement, but its large book collection may be worth the trip from your West Campus apartment to find the resources you need for a research project. While searching through the PCL might take longer than a five-minute trip to the Co-0p, this option will be easier on your wallet.

7. Sell when you’re done

Don’t leave your textbooks to collect dust on your closet floor. Although you’ll never open up your Spanish grammar book again, someone else will. Sell your books on the UT Buy/Sell/Trade/Free page on Facebook. Trade with your roommates. Try to see what the Co-op will give you for them. Check Chegg online and based on the ISBN number, they will give you an estimate on how much the book is worth. It may be tempting to take notes or doodle in your textbooks, but remember the resale value goes down the more desecrated your book is!