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Creative Ways to Save Money on Textbooks

textbooksBooks can be incredibly expensive, especially for college students who are putting all of their time into education and who do not have time for a job on the side. Dropping four hundred dollars or more, per semester, can be daunting and sometimes impossible. However, colleges and universities refuse to supply books along with the cost of the courses, so what can you do? Below are a few creative ways to save.

Buy the PDF Versions

The publishing world is changing. These days, you can choose to buy many books in PDF form and then read them on your tablet, your smartphone or your computer, rather than buying paperback copies. Since the cost of printing a paperback book or a hardcover book is far higher than the cost of assembling a PDF – which can then be resold many times over – the PDF versions usually cost much less. You might be able to get a $100 book for under $10. If you do this with even half of your books, you are going to save.

Get Science Books Directly from Former Students

If you need science books, you can often get them right from the students who took the class before you. They will need new books for their next classes since they will be taking different subjects, so they will want to get rid of the ones that they have and get some money to buy the new ones. They will be happy to sell to you, rather than selling the books back to the school, because it cuts out the middleman and makes it a good deal from both sides. Even if you pay less than what it would have cost to buy a book from the school, you will still be giving them more than they would have gotten while selling the book back to the bookstore. It is a win-win situation.

Share a Book with Another Student

If you have friends who are taking the same classes as you, but they have the classes at different times, you should consider sharing the book. You will still get a great education because you will have the tools that you need, but you will not have to pay nearly as much. If you split the cost of books in half this way, you can really save a lot, though you may have to study together when exams come around.

Buy Your Books Late

Some professors will assign books for the course and then never use them. You can often figure out if this is going to happen in the first week or so. They will choose to give you an education based around presentations and lectures, but they may have assigned the book just because they felt like they had to give you something. You should go to your first week of classes without any books, figure out which classes you really need them for, and then only buy those ones at the bookstore. This keeps you from throwing away money on a book you would never open anyway.

Increasing Your Savings

If you use all four of these tricks at the same time, you can drastically cut back on what you pay each semester. Even if you only saved $100 each semester, you will be saving $800 by the time that you graduate. If it takes you more than four years to get your degree, or if you are able to save around $200 per semester, your savings will increase. Take these steps as soon as you can to give yourself financial freedom while you get your education.

Author Bio

Today’s guest article comes from Ryan Ayers. He is a writer who creates informative articles in relation to education. In this article, he offer advice for students buying books and aims to encourage further study with an OU Online Civil Engineering Master’s Degree.

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The Freakonomics of Digital Textbooks

It seems counter intuitive, at first glance, that students are still using paper textbooks. With iPads, Kindles and other e-readers as common as pizza on college campuses, it’s not a stretch to envision rows of unsold backpacks lingering in bookstores as students add just one more aspect of their lives to the electronic age of the 21st Century. However, that’s far from the case now – though there’s reason to believe that change might just be around the corner where digital textbooks are concerned.

A wide range of costs

By not having to pay printing costs, those sizable savings can be passed on the consumer, in this case the student, right? Well, the answer that is most correct is – it depends. While some of the more sought after textbooks can be had digitally at savings of up to eighty percent compared to bound copies, studies that include other, less popular titles suggest that savings are negligible. Those who’ve finished their schooling, memories of lugging around heavy books around campus, probably have a hard time understanding why anyone would choose a traditional book over an e-book, but there are actually good reasons why adoption has been slow up to this point.

Converging realities

If you’re just entering college, the bottom line is that the future looks bright for your ability to access cheap textbooks. To support this silver lining, though, you need to understand a few key factors in why those costs aren’t already lower, starting with demand.

For many university students, the previous twelve years of their academic life was spent holding, carrying and reading traditional books. Hopefully by the time they began to matriculate into colleges, those in the pipeline had figured out how to really extract a lot of knowledge from a textbook. While their games had mostly moved to the electronics realm, the students didn’t have digital textbooks as part of any tradition. Some of these people became early adopters of digital texts, but most never switched, even for a try. Of those thirty-nine percent who did, roughly one third returned to their familiar, bound texts.

Other reasons for students not trying, or trying and then rejecting, e-texts has to do with the still lingering problem of overall computer skills. Uncomfortable with the interactive features of digital texts, some students made a conscious decision to learn their course skills, but not updated technology skills. In the end, these realities combined to produce low consumer demand for many e-book titles and publishers priced the products accordingly higher as a result.

As college goes, so goes the books

You don’t have to look too far back to find graduates who know the pace of acceleration college has experienced. Now, it’s likely that a graduate received an online bachelor degree, albeit using bound textbooks. Colleges have gone digital in ways unthinkable only a decade ago and Ivy League schools are well known to offer completely-online courses. But while students adapt to digital classrooms, there is still a bit of a lag in adapting to digital textbooks.

A leading reason many students still prefer paper to digital materials has to do with the lack of value added features on even discounted e-books. Students simply aren’t interested in electronic copies of a bound text. However, when a publisher adds value to a text, students respond with their wallets, saving themselves money and providing the demand publishers like to see as they invest more in products that don’t have printing and paper material costs to drive up prices.

Publishers are responding to student quality expectations, and they’re being rewarded by higher sales numbers. The cycle of demand driving down price is already showing up, and for that freshman, this means book costs are almost certainly bound to fall dramatically while he or she is still in college.

Today’s guest article was provided by Joseph Baker.

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Free Textbooks & Campus Gear Giveaway – Enter Today!

The end of another semester is slowly creeping up for many. Students are diligently writing their final papers and cramming for those end-of semester exams. Fortunately though, there is light at the end of the tunnel and winter break is nearly upon us.

In an effort to celebrate this momentous occasion, has teamed up with to provide some great gifts for our readers. For those that don’t know, is a leading retailer of textbooks and college apparel. They not only rent and sell textbooks but they also provide top dollar for students looking to make some money from their used books.

To help alleviate the impact on your wallets next semester, is providing a $200 gift card that can be utilized on their website. Since textbook rental is much cheaper than buying outright, it is very possible that this $200 prize could take care of all of your textbooks expenses next semester. In addition, if you find that you have any money leftover, you can shop for a number of other items on

The following represents the many different ways in which you can submit an entry into the giveaway:

Each of the methods above will give you an entry into the giveaway.  So, you could potentially have up to five chances to win the $200 gift card from…


Sarah Walker is the winner. I will send an email out to Sarah so that she can claim her prize. Congrats to all that participated. Be sure to stay tuned for another giveaway that we will be doing in January.


This giveaway will close on Saturday December 10th at midnight (Eastern Standard Time). I will randomly select a winner (using the wonders of technology) from the entries and announce the winner on this article on December 11th.  The winner has a week to contact me and arrange for delivery of the $200 gift card. If I don’t hear from the winner, I will randomly select an alternate.

Hope you enjoy this giveaway. If you know of any deserving people that could make good use of free textbooks or college apparel, please feel free to utilize the “share tab” below to pass this information onto them.

Good Luck! 🙂

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6 Tips To Scoring Cheaper Textbooks For College

When you are looking at college expenses, the little things (like textbooks) seem to usually take a backseat to the larger fees (like tuition, room and board). Textbooks are small in size and comparably inexpensive when you think about them individually. However, the amount of money a student will invest in their books over the course of their academic career should not be taken lightly. Because of this, I have come up with the following tips to help guide students down the path to finding cheaper textbooks.

  • Buy Online: Brick and mortar bookstores carry a larger overhead expense than their online counterparts, so it is only natural that their costs would be higher. Now that the Higher Education Opportunity Act requires colleges and universities to put ISBN numbers online with their course listings, it is easier for students to purchase books via more competitive methods (such as online). However, if you are purchasing a book online make sure you allow enough time for the book to be shipped to you before your class starts and always make sure you are getting the correct edition (these are the two most common pitfalls associated with online textbook shopping).
  • Use Coupons: And you thought coupons only worked at the grocery store! is the nation’s oldest online coupon site and they serve up savings by providing coupons for leading textbook retailers. Some examples include: Chegg Coupons, TextbooksRus Coupons, Campus Book Rentals Coupons
  • Buy Used: I could see reasons why you would buy a new car over a used car but do you really need to have a new textbook verses a used one? There really is no reason why you should ever purchase a new textbook if a cheaper but equally effective used book is available. Now if the used book looks like a dog ate through half of it and the remaining half smells like a garbage dump, then I would probably splurge for the new book… otherwise… always go used.
  • Rent: Renting textbooks has increased in popularity in the past few years. It is a nice way to gain access to crazy expensive books but only pay for the time that you are going to use it. Keeping with my car analogy above, this could probably be compared to leasing.
  • Network With Friends: You know that there are probably a good portion of people on campus that have already had that bio-molecular chemistry course last semester and are looking to unload the book for cheap. Use your network of friends to track those people down. Facebook and Twitter should hopefully make quick work of this task.
  • The Good Old Library: Amazingly, the campus and community library are keeping more and more textbooks on the shelves and for the cost of a library card (which is usually free) you could check your book out for the semester. The downside is that you had better be first in line or on the waiting list because other poor college students are probably going to have the same idea.

I hope you found these tips helpful as you start your quest for cheap textbooks. If you have any other ideas that could be useful for your fellow college students, please don’t hesitate to share them below in the comment section.

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New Higher Education Opportunity Act (HEOA) – Reducing Textbook Expense

Over the course of the next week or so, I am going to be introducing some different aspects of the new Higher Education Opportunity Act. More importantly, I am going to focus on the parts of the bill that impact you (and your checkbook) as it relates to the financial aspect of your college experience.

For those that don’t know, the Higher Education Act was initially put into law back in 1965. This expansive legislation tops out at 431 pages and provides guidelines for colleges and universities that must be followed if they are to maintain their eligibility for Title IV funding (Federal Works Study, Pell Grants, Direct Loans, SEOG, etc…). In the past year or so this legislation was completely revamped and all the new laws went into effect on July 1st. In most cases, this legislation is focused on benefiting the students and their families. In other aspects, it just ends up being a bunch of bureaucratic red tape that gets in the way of anybody getting anything done. All in all though, it impacts the world of higher education and ultimately the students (again.. mostly for the better).

Today I am going to focus on how HEOA is impacting Textbooks (and possibly what you will be spending on them).

In the past, finding out what textbooks you needed for a particular course was likened to the process involved to find out if Colonel Mustard was responsible for all the mischief caused in a game of CLUE. Meaning, you find yourself going in circles only to find bits and pieces of the information you need but never really getting a clear answer from anyone. Here are some sample “hurdles” encountered by students; the book titles are never complete in the course descriptions, the professors never told them all the “extra” reading material that is required for the course, and the edition of the book is undoubtedly always incorrect and heaven forbid you actually get an ISBN number…

What this meant to students before the most current HEOA is that they were kind of at the mercy of the college bookstore for all of their textbooks and they really didn’t have an opportunity to shop around at other discount retailers. Now that HEOA is in effect, all of this should now change.. How so you ask? Let me tell you…

Good News For You!

When students register for courses, the following two items must be made available to them (“to the maximum extent practicable”) at the point of class selection:

  • ISBN numbers for all books associated with the class: Now that ISBN numbers are available in advance, a student has the opportunity to get the book (the correct one) for a discount either through an online resource or potentially from one of their classmates that recently took the course.
  • Suggested Retail Price for textbooks AND supplemental materials: This is important because you can have two sections (taught by two different professors) of an accounting course available and immediately see that one is requiring $150 in books and supplies and the other one is only needing $75. Immediately you can achieve a $75 savings just by picking one section (professor) over the other.

Bad News For Colleges!

Very few colleges and universities seem to manage their own campus bookstores anymore. Most of these sites are outsourced to companies like Barnes and Noble and Follett. Since they are outsourced, the only revenue the schools get is usually some rental income for space they lease to the company and a percentage of the gross sales revenue (which is usually tiered.. meaning the more the bookstore makes, the more the college gets). With the implementation of HEOA and the new textbook provision, it seems to be very natural that campus bookstore sales will probably be taking a hit and therefore so won’t the school itself.

Ultimately, I think this legislation is going to be a mechanism to help bring textbook pricing under control. Anyone that has purchased textbooks in the past couple of years can attest to the inflated cost associated with these specialized books. I remember when I was in college paying close to a $100 bucks for a book once. I felt justified in the expense because the book was a hardback. Now I walk through the bookstore and I see the same prices for paperback… times have certainly changed. Anyway, I hope you find some benefit from this information and you take advantage of the changes in HEOA in regard to textbook pricing.

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If you are a college student, work at a college, or ever stepped foot on a college campus, then you probably are very familiar with Over the years it has topped the internet as a premium competitive resource to buy and sell goods. Amazon started their business as a book retailer but now you can not only buy books at rock bottom prices, you can purchase electronics, household supplies, and even groceries. It is absolutely amazing to see how the website has evolved over the years.

For those that know Amazon, you know that one of their features is a service called Amazon Prime. If you enroll in this program, you get free 2-day shipping on any product you order directly from Amazon and one-day shipping is available at only $3.99 for each item. The only downside is that an annual subscription to Amazon Prime will set you back $79. Which you would have to purchase a fair amount of items to recoup that investment.

The Good News For College Students

If you are a college student, you are currently eligible to receive the Amazon Prime service for FREE.. Yes FREE. Sign up is easy and the only qualifications are that you are currently enrolled at a college and have a valid .edu email address. That is it! So, if you are already using to score great deals on your textbooks or electronic gadgets to fill up your dorm room, then you had better take advantage of this free benefit and save a couple bucks on shipping while you are at it. Once your free membership has run its course, you can renew your membership at the college student rate of $39 a year (half off the regular rate).

The Bad News For Alumni

In my research for this article, I found that a good number of college alumni are trying to enroll in this program because their college assigned them with a permanent .edu email address for life.  If your email address doesn’t reflect your graduation year ( or the fact that you are indeed an alumni ( you may be able to enroll in the free offer. However, if Amazon finds out, they will more than likely cancel your membership and ban you from their website indefinitely… just kidding…but they will probably cancel your Amazon Prime membership.

Good News For Faculty and Staff

Since you have a permanent .edu email address at your college, you are probably able to “work the system” to get a free Amazon Prime account. Faculty are always adding to their literary collections, so I am guessing that this free benefit could be a huge savings for them.

Bad News for Colleges That Don’t Have a .edu Email Address

Over the past few years, many colleges and universities have migrated their email accounts to gmail (Google) or some other comparable service provider. This provides a huge cost savings for the schools and a great resource for the faculty, staff, and students. Unfortunately, depending on how this transition was performed, the .edu portion of the email addresses could be lost in the shuffle.   Also, if you are attending a state college, it is very likely that your email address may provide some challenges as well. For example, a local community college in Ohio had their email addresses ending with “”. The good news is that you are still eligible for the free Amazon Prime offer, you just need to jump through some additional hoops…

At, we are always trying to help families and students find great opportunities to reduce the costs associated with going to college. If you plan on utilizing for any textbook purchases (or groceries, electronics, etc…) you will definitely want to take advantage of this FREE Amazon Prime offer.

If you know of anyone else that could benefit from this cost savings, please be sure to pass this information onto them using the “share tab” below.

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eBooks and Ipads are “Out” and Paper Textbooks are “In”

I thought with the invention of Amazon’s Kindle and the new Apple Ipad, eBooks would be dominating the market and students would be jumping all over increased savings that these technological tools would provide verses the archaic and somewhat expensive option of paper textbooks. However, the National Association of College Stores (NACS), has recently proven my thought process wrong.

Apparently, based upon a recent survey completed by OnCampus Research, 74% of students prefer to use paper textbooks as opposed to their electronic counterpart. At first glance, I find this hard to believe but then I started to reflect back to my college days. Paper books, as hard as they may be to lug around campus, have an educational aura that can not be easily replaced by the electronic version. In addition, have you ever tried to highlight your Kindle or Ipad? It just doesn’t give you the same satisfaction as the “coloring” that you can do in a paper textbook… besides it leaves a residue on your screen…that was my attempt at a joke ;). Lastly, when you have accomplished reading a printed book, you can add it to your library collection for all to see and be amazed in wonderment on how much you love to read. When you are done reading your Ipad or Kindle, I guess you um.. just turn it off…

So.. I can see why students (and probably the public in general) are still leaning to printed paper books verses electronic.  However, given the results of the survey, it does show that 26% of students do prefer eBooks. This percentage isn’t anything to sneeze at and my guess is that it will continue to increase as technology becomes more mainstream in the classrooms across the nation.

For now though, if you are one of the 74% that still prefer to have traditional paper textbooks, please don’t hesitate to check out CheapScholar’s textbook comparison shopping tool.

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Textbook Comparison Shopping Tool

If you are a college student, or the parent of a college student, you will want to bookmark this page right away because it is sure to save you thousands of dollars over the span of your educational career. It may be hard to believe but the numbers speak for themselves. Leading book retailers estimate that college students spend an average of $450 a semester on textbooks. Assuming most students attend at least 8 semesters (4 years) of college, your total expense would be $3,600 for books. Using our Textbook Comparison Shopping Tool, you can save up to 60% off of retail pricing… or roughly $2,200.

Our Textbook Comparison Shopping Tool is partnered up with over 40 different textbook retailers competing for your business.(Which guarantees you the best pricing!) All you have to do is type in any of your textbook information (author, title, ISBN, etc..) and click on search. Our Textbook Comparison Shopping Tool quickly brings back the results and pricing for your textbook. Click on the one you want to purchase and proceed through checkout. Textbook savings has never been easier!

Textbook Prices by

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