• Yalmie

How I Save $$$ on Textbooks

Hi Everyone! I have been super busy with school, work, and life in general that I haven't had a chance to get back on my blog and share a post with you all.


I had my first week of my second semester of grad school last week and with that came all of the required texts. Textbooks are really expensive and I have found some ways to acquire my textbooks for free or at a very low cost! I have shared these sources with some of my classmates and friends in person but I thought it would be a good idea to share this with everyone.


1. Check Your University Library

Sometimes your university library will have the physical book available to check out. When I attended Sonoma State, which is part of the California State University system, they had this thing called CSU+. If a different CSU had the book, they would ship the book to my university free of charge and I was able to borrow the book with my university library account. Sometimes a professor would place a book on reserve in the university library. This gave students access to using the texts for short periods of time in the library.


2. Check Your University Library Website

Typing the ISBN or the book title in the search bar of the university library website sometimes brought up the book through ProQuest Ebook Central. This means you can access the book for FREE. You can download the entire book (you will need a third party software to read it but the software is free to download), or you can download PDF files of each chapter (there are download page limits every 24 hours), or you can read it online. Ebook Central lets you bookmark and highlight text as well.


If you've attended different colleges and universities, you can try accessing the library website through your other university library accounts and do a quick search to see if they have the physical book or to see if they can give you access to Ebook Central to read the Ebook.


3. Check Your Local Public Library

I have a library card through the Los Angeles Public Library and I have access to borrowing physical books as well as accessing many digital materials. There’s an app called OverDrive that lets you check out Ebooks, audiobooks and movies with your library account. It is also good to note that different libraries have different digital collections, as in they may not all have the exact same materials to check out. I also had a Sonoma County Library card when I lived there during undergrad and they also had a collection in the OverDrive app, which was helpful when I needed a digital material that my Los Angeles Public Library OverDrive digital library did not offer.


Because both the Los Angeles Public Library and the Sonoma County Library had multiple branches, they are able to ship a book to your local branch if your local branch did not have a copy of the book you needed.


4. Ask Someone if They Have the Textbook

Depending on the course and the textbook version a professor is requesting that you use, you can totally ask a friend or a colleague if you can borrow their book. You can also offer to buy it off them. Sonoma State had a Facebook group where people would buy and sell textbooks and most people sold the books at affordable rates.


5. Rent the Book

Some bookstores let you rent out new or used versions of textbooks. Renting the used books had lower costs but sometimes came with highlighted text or written annotations from the previous owner(s).


6. Consider Purchasing the Ebook

This may not always be the most ideal option but sometimes it is more affordable than purchasing or renting the textbook brand new or used. I personally did not like Ebooks at first but because of the previous methods I mentioned before, I warmed up to them.


7. Consider Splitting the Cost

I personally have not done this but I have heard of some people doing this and sharing the textbook among each other. They would split up reading days and pass the book off to the next person and get the reading done before the next class meeting.


8. Buy the Used Book

This is an affordable option and you can totally resell the book to someone, if a professor is requesting students to use that same book the next term. I would suggest looking at sites that let you compare the prices that different sellers are offering so you can ensure you are getting the best deal. If the site you are about to buy the textbook from looks unfamiliar, I would suggest clicking around to make sure it is legit, as there are unfortunately some scammers out there.


9. Buy the Book New

This may not always be ideal but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do. There is also the potential to sell it at the end of the term back to the bookstore or to someone else.


I was super excited to write this post and my hope with this list was to share some knowledge that I acquired through my textbook search over the years. I have heard of some people having luck with doing a quick Google search and finding a PDF of their textbook but I personally have not been lucky with that method. Please feel free to share any other tips and tricks you have about finding your textbooks so that the community is aware.


Wishing you all the best!


~YALMIE~