Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Big Savings for Back to School - Finding Best Textbook Deals for High School and College


With August nearly midway through, back to school is already here, or will be very soon.   Whether your kids are in high school or college, families on a budget want to know the secret to saving money because as in years past, our children are going to be needing (and wanting) all kinds of stuff this fall -- new clothes, school supplies, and textbooks.

In fact that last item on the list can be the most pricey of all.  According to consumer and money-saving expert Andrea Woroch, school books are expensive and prices tend to rise at four times the rate of inflation and the going rate now is $900 per studnet annually and climbing for new books.  

With four kids in out-of-state colleges at the same time now -- including my triplets plus their big brother who is one year older -- I've learned first-hand that those astronomical costs for text books can really add up if you and/or your student don't shop smartly.  Why spend close to a thousand dollars or more for each student, when they can have the same exact books for hundreds less?

Woroch's strategy, which my sons and daughters have already put to the test shopping for their own college textbooks, is simple and logical. The key is to avoid buying new books at retail stores and, in the case of university students, use the college bookstore only as a last resort because even gently used book can be had for much less money elsewhere.

7 Ways to Save BIG on Text Books

To get you started saving on one of the highest expenses associated with your child's education, here are some ideas for thinking creatively to save hundreds of dollars on books this fall.

1. Wait Until You've Seen the Syllabus
You may not even need all those books that are on the teacher's class list.  So,  why not wait until the student's first day of class to decide on what's really necessary.

2. Rent Books From a Service
Examples include:, and  Go this route and you'll pay roughly half the purchase price, often with free shipping included.

3. Don't buy New, Purchase Used Textbooks Instead
Over the years, buying used, rather than new has grown increasingly popular.  This trend has its roots, at least in part,  in the current movement toward greater eco responsibility.  Remember to shop eBay as well as Amazon, of course.  But also check out the growing number of used online textbook companies -- such as, and  Don't overlook visiting the many traditional retail book stores (both chains and mom and pop shops) that also sell previously owned texts alongside new books, either.

4. Download Free & Discounted Textbooks
Few classes require students to read every page of a textbook, so why not download only the
necessary portion from websites like or MIT Open Courseware? You can also tap into Project Gutenberg which has scanned in hundreds of free-domain books for use on e-readers such as Kindle, Android, iPhone, iPad, and other portable devices.

5. Don't Purchase the Whole Package
Federal regulations no longer allow publishers to combine textbooks with add-ons, such as CD-ROMs and workbooks.  Before you buy an entire bundle, check with your professor or instructor.

6. Shop Online
When you buy online often this means you'll find reduced book prices and low or free shipping.  You'll save even more if you download a coupon code from a site like and then purchase at new textbook sellers such as  Amazon,,, and various others.

7. Other Thinking Out-of-the-Box Ways to Save 
Another buy cheaper option is to purchase an earlier textbook edition  Except for subjects where there are major advances in their respective fields -- these books probably won't be that different from the edition that's just off the presses.  You might also shop at swap meets, thrift stores and garage sales for great book bargains.

Woroch concludes by reminding parents who will be shopping for their kids and college students who will be buying on their own to always compare prices and shop around for textbooks.

"Websites such as, and make the process much easier," Woroch says.

Please Leave a Comment
Looking forward to your comments about this. Definitely feel free to add your own additional tips to saving money on books in the comment section below. 

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