Gainesville, FL -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/05/2011 -- Every August, college students the world over learn the shocking reality of what one of their greatest expenses will be - textbooks. The average student spends nearly $1,000 on college textbooks each year. For most, this expense is not covered by scholarships and will come directly from their own, not-so-deep, college student pockets. However, this expense can be greatly reduced by following a few simple, money-saving guidelines.
1) First and foremost, students should do online comparison shopping when searching for college textbooks. By using the textbook title or ISBN, students can search sites such as Amazon, Half, eBay and CollegeTextbooks.net to find the lowest prices on the new or used textbooks.
2) Buying used textbooks instead of new can also substantially decrease the cost. In most college bookstores, the used books are the first to sell-out due to their reduced prices. In order to find these cheap textbooks online, students can shop at the same sites they did when comparison shopping. Sites will note if a book is used or new and describe its condition.
3) Renting textbooks as opposed to purchasing them is another cost-saving method. When students rent textbooks, they are basically checking out a textbook for a specified length of time. At the end of the rental period, typically one quarter or one semester, the student can simply return the book inside a prepaid mailing envelope. Although each textbook rental company has its own unique rental policy, most of them allow for typical wear and tear on the rented books.
4) Another option to consider is purchasing an older edition of a textbook. Many textbooks come out with a new edition each year, with only a few minor changes. According to Steven Kennedy from CollegeTextbooks.net, “By talking to students who have taken a class previously, you can find out if the textbook is used as reading material only. If so, the odds are good that you will learn the same concepts by reading an older edition textbook that costs up to 98 percent less.”
5) Students should also consider the non-traditional, but growing trend of purchasing eBooks rather than physical textbooks. An eBook can often be highlighted and notated just like a regular book, with the exception it generally costs significantly less.
6) Be on the lookout for free books. Another little-known fact is there are websites offering free textbooks, free eBooks, free audio books and free downloadable books. Freebooks.com is a good resource to get started with finding information about free books.
7) Once a book is no longer needed, selling it is a way to earn some money back. Typically, most college bookstores only offer a tiny percentage of the amount a book is worth. Therefore, it can be just as important to comparison sell textbooks as it is to comparison shop. Selling the textbook to another student is one option. Students can also reference the same websites they used when comparison shopping as many offer textbook buybacks.