Let’s face it, things keep getting more expensive and the costs of a college education are rising just as fast – if not faster – than anything else.  In particular, textbook prices are quite inflated and sometimes shockingly so.  Even when compared to other books of similar size and quality, the ones desginated as college texts and sold at the campus bookstore have prices that seem hard to justify.

Many factors go in to the high cost of college textbooks, but there are also some ways you can avoid the middle-men and fees when you’re preparing for school.

Bookstore Rent

If you’re going to sell books, you need somewhere to sell them from!  If you’re buying books in person, the store is paying rent on the facilities, and they’re probably paying a premium to get their textbooks on campus or at least in a nearby shopping center.  Bookstores on campus tend to be particularly expensive, because many colleges and universities charge an extra fee to whichever company rents the spaces closest to where the students are at.  Buying your textbooks online can help you avoid many of these costs because a single company can serve students nationwide from a single facility.  The physical facility doesn’t even need to be near premium campus land, so the low rental overhead means savings on books.

Paper and Ink isn’t Free!

Another way to save some cash on college textbooks is to skip the printing phase completely.  If you’ve got a digital book reader, you might consider buying and downloading textbooks online.  The savings aren’t just financial either, they are environmental as well.  Save a few trees, some ink, and the costs of transporting these books all around the country by downloading them next semester.  You’ll save money while doing something good for the planet.

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Use it Five Months, Pay for a Lifetime

Many books have a limited usefulness.  A class only lasts a few months, but the book you’ve bought is yours forever.  Most bookstores will allow you to trade in or cash out your books at the end of the semester, but they’ll often just give you pennies on the dollar of what you originally paid.  Instead of trying to haggle for a good deal on your used books, why not just rent your textbooks online instead in the first place:  pay less up front, and just send them back when you’re done.  Its a lot easier than trying to find a buyer who will give you a decent price!

Rent Textbooks: Fast Delivery, Free Return Shipping!

5 Responses to “Why college textbooks are so expensive – and what to do about it”

  1. Buy used textbooks whenever possible. This will help you save money on textbooks, which can get very expensive! Another option is to share a textbook with one of your classmates. This way you can both split the cost of the book.

  2. Hopmarks.com is a great place to get the books for cheaper than any university bookstore out there. As well as sell them for more than you would get at the university bookstore.

  3. Make Textbooks Suck Less
    Students at the University of Colorado at Boulder are trying to make it easier for Students to sell their books for good prices without the effort.

    List your textbook once and have it posted to dozens of the biggest textbook sites. When it sells, place the book in the envelope we send, let the mailman know you have pickup, and enjoy your extra free time.

  4. There’s a national petition to drive down textbook costs. Support it at textbookrebellion.org


  1. Rent college textbooks today – get free shipping | Free College Blog

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