The know-it-all’s guide to getting your textbooks

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Students at private universities spend an average $1,200 a year on textbooks, according to the College Board. The TCU Office of Financial Aid puts the average for TCU students’ book and supplies at $970.

This can often leave first-year students asking how to get the best deals and when to buy textbooks. Well, we’ve rounded up some options to answer that very question.

Dr. Kassia Waggoner, a professor of English and Women and Gender studies, recommends students buy or rent their textbooks as early in the semester as they can.

“I am a literature and composition professor, so I can tell you that in my classes, it is essential to buy or rent the books right away,” said Waggoner.

However, she does suggest waiting until you see the syllabus for some classes.

“Some classes may not depend on the book as much, so I recommend waiting until after you see the syllabus before buying a textbook,” she said. “If you see that reading quizzes are a part of your grade, that’s a sign that you should definitely buy or rent the textbook for the course.”

As for where to get those books, here are some tips from upper-division students to be passed down:

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6 Ways Students Can Save Money For Textbooks

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Aside from high tuition fees, there are still a lot of things that students need to shell out money for. One of these important requirements for school is textbooks.

Students should start preparing now so that they won’t get stressed out come September. USA Today shared six ways that students can save money on textbooks.

1. Check the alternatives.

Students should use their summer to start planning for school. After getting the list of required textbooks, check the things you can do. In order to save, students can usually rent, buy used, get an e-book or buy a previous edition of a textbook.

There are more savings now since the gap between new and used textbook prices have gone up to $82 for a new book and just $59 for a used one. This is a $23 saving, higher than the $15 back in 2011-2012.

2. Sell your old books.

You should sell your old textbooks if you don’t need to come back to the same subject later in your studies. You can post them online and earn extra cash for them. You can also go for Amazon’s textbook trade-in where you can get a gift card from the retailer for turning in old books that are still in good condition.

3. Sell anything else you don’t need.

There’s a big chance that you have a lot of stuff lying around that could help you save money for textbooks. Sell the things that you don’t need. This way, you’ll earn extra money and de-clutter at the same time.

4. Apply for a summer job.

While summer jobs can no longer take up the whole burden of paying for your college education, it can help in managing the cost for other requirements such as textbooks. There are a lot of short-term gigs for the college students especially with the on-demand economy aided by Uber and DoorDash, among others.

5. Sync with your friends.

Know what classes your friends are planning to take. This way, you can split the cost of a single book or you can borrow from a friend who has already taken the class you will be taking up.

6. Look for textbook scholarships.


Finding The Cheapest Textbook Rental Prices in Two Easy Steps

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Finding The Cheapest Textbook Rental Prices in Two Easy Steps

College Textbook Retailer Receives Highest 5-Star Rating from

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Standing in long lines at the college bookstore trying to buy college textbooks can be a thing of the past. Increasingly, students are turning to online college textbook stores that provide competitive pricing on the same books found on campus. Many college students are even taking advantage of services that allow them to rent their textbooks, rather than buying them outright, which saves them both time and money.

“College can be expensive, but using BookRenter for your textbooks can make it much more affordable,” according to Brian Dolezal, of, LLC. “BookRenter makes it possible for students to buy or rent both used and new college textbooks at a fraction of the prices found in campus bookstores. With more than 5 million books available, students can easily find the books they need. BookRenter has created the simplest, most cost-effective way to get college textbooks, with flexible rental terms and low prices for buying new and used editions as well. With an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau and many satisfied customers, BookRenter gets our highest ranking for College Textbooks in 2016.”

To find out more about BookRenter and other providers of College Textbooks, including reviews and comparison rankings, please visit the College Textbooks Products category of at

If You’re Buying Textbooks This Week, Get Educated, Not Schooled

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When a semester of textbooks can add up to a couple (or three or four) hundred dollars, hitting the checkout line at the campus bookstore is a distressing experience for many students, to say the least. TechCrunch has some solutions.

Analog solutions to this problem include: borrowing from the library, borrowing from friends who’ve already taken the class, and photocopying from those foolish enough to buy the book in exchange for beer.

Or, you know, you could turn to the plethora of digital resources out there for help.

If you really don’t want to spend money on books, Boundless is a free service that aligns its e-textbooks with other popular texts by chapter across 20 subjects. In classes like Accounting and Psych 101 where many textbooks provide the same information, this can be a big money saver. Boundless is also launching a premium option, which includes study help in the form of active recall quizzes at the price of $19.99 per book.

Textbook giant Chegg,  gives students a lot of options. You can buy new or used, rent a hard copy, or rent an e-text from 60 days up to a year. There’s a certain advantage to that last option, which is that you’re never going to forget to turn your rental back in and get charged the full amount. Just saying. You can also sell textbooks through the site.

Just in time for this school year, Google has also gotten in on the textbook game with e-text rentals available in the Google Play store.

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Are Electronic Textbooks for Everyone? Not Necessarily


As students start to buy their textbooks for this semester, a new utility –  the eBook – is gaining substantial popularity and publicity. However, there is  one serious drawback that many eTextbook users have failed to consider – the  open book exam.

While eTextbooks offer some benefits, such as interactive learning and the  ability to avoid carrying around heavy textbooks, there are two serious  drawbacks for many college students.

The first is price. While an eTextbook, in many cases, is downloadable to a  laptop, students will have to carry the laptop to their class, find a power  outlet, and deal with the possibility that their expensive laptop could be  destroyed while on campus. If a student does not want to carry around their  laptop, eReaders are available, but there are some drawbacks. The first is that  the eTextbook that a student downloads may not necessarily be compatible with  all eTextbook readers. While most will work, because of all of the emerging  eTextbook companies, this could be problematic. Furthermore, eTextbook readers  are costly in and of themselves, with prices ranging from $100 – $300 or more.  Finally, eTextbooks are usually more expensive than buying, even new textbooks,  within the secondary market. A textbook comparison site will compare textbook  prices, and generally eTextbooks are 3 or 4 times the cost of what a student  could find a new textbook for.

The second drawback – and perhaps the most important – is the case of the  open book exam. When a student is allowed to use their textbook during an exam,  most of the time professors will not allow a student to have any electronic  equipment available while taking the test. Therefore, students that use  eTextbooks, either on a reader, or on a laptop, may be seriously disadvantaged  if a professor offers them the ability to use their textbook while sitting for  an exam. Since computers and most readers not only allow students to store notes  and other information, but connect to the Internet, it is doubtful that a  professor would allow someone to use these devices – as it would be unfair to  the other students that simply have a book.

Furthermore, a student can use an eTextbook (if the software allows it) to  print off some chapters, but the added costs of paper, and the fact that a  professor cannot guarantee that only the eTextbook information was printed may  prevent the student from using this on an open book exam. Finally, even if a  professor did allow printing of an eTextbook, the costs – at an average of $0.10  per page to print, for a 300 or 400 page selection of the text would cost the  student up to $40. If they do this for the midterm and the final, spending $80  in total, the student will spend many times more than what they could have spent  buying the textbook in the online market.

In short, while eTextbooks offer some great, enhanced content and other  advantages, they will not necessarily save a savvy student any money, and the  student may have to purchase a textbook anyway at either the midterm or the end  of the semester – if a professor allows an open book exam.

A serial entrepreneur, Derek Haake is the founder of that allows college students to compare  textbook prices easily and save up to 80%. Campushiftis a new type of social  network designed to redefine the textbook marketplace by providing students with  access to a free textbook swap database. A student for five and a half years,  Haake was inspired to create Campushift after earning his BA in Political  Science from the University of Texas at Arlington, his MBA from the University  of Akron College of Business, and his JD from the University of Akron School of  Law. After spending a small fortune on textbooks for each of his degrees, Haake  was determined to design a more affordable and sensible way for students to  purchase their books by drawing on his background in software development.  Previously, Haake was an analyst for ALLTEL and he has been a founder or owner  of three different companies in telecommunications and software.

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Facts About Chegg Textbook Rentals

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Just read Martin Rojas’ post on renting textbooks at Chegg. Good article on textbook renting but not many comments. I would be interested to hear what others have to say. My comment was:

Rental is a great way to save money up front.  Buying a used textbook and selling it back may be ultimately cheaper but also has risks if the resale price  drops. I always use a price comparison service to compare rental rates and used rates.

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