Cheap and easy ways to get textbooks

Whether you are a biology major, an art major or any major in between, textbooks are an inevitable — and often expensive — burden on college students. When professors decide not to reference the book you were required to purchase, it can leave you thinking. “Why did I even buy or rent this book?” Buying textbooks doesn’t have to be stressful to you or your wallet. Here are a few tips to make sure you are getting the best for your buck.


Buy them used

One of the easiest ways to pay less for textbooks is to buy them used. There are tons of websites, like and eBay, that sell lightly used materials for cheap. If you’re like me and will most likely never pick up the book after the class is over, buying textbooks used is a great way to make sure you aren’t overspending money on something you aren’t going to use in the future. Buying books rather than renting them also gives you the advantage of being able to sell them when you are done with them.


Rent them

Although you can’t make money off of rented books, they are another cost-effective way of making sure you are prepared for next semester. Like finding used textbooks, finding textbooks for rent is quick and easy. Popular websites, like Amazon and Chegg, make it simple to find exactly what you are looking for at a fraction of the price. At the end of your rental period, Amazon even provides you with a shipping label, so sending back your textbooks doesn’t cost you anything extra. If you are pressed for time, many websites also offer PDF versions of textbooks that are available for automatic download as soon as you purchase them.


Textbook exchange

Regardless of your major, all college students will buy textbooks at least a handful of times during their college career, so why not help each other out. Textbook exchanges are an easy way to sell and find textbooks from students just like you. Online forums and Facebook pages are excellent resources that can help you network with other students, trade textbooks, class materials and advice. Even if you decide not to use an official textbook exchange, finding other students in your major or program who have already taken the classes you are enrolled in can be a valuable resource for acquiring textbooks and an insider’s look into a class.


NSU Bookstore

For students who decide to forgo alternative methods for purchasing textbooks and prefer to purchase them directly from the NSU bookstore, there is a buyback policy that allows students to get up to 50% cashback for their books at the end of the semester. Books must include all original materials (CDs, workbooks, etc.) and at the time of buyback, valid school ID is required. Finals week is the best time to get the most cash back, so sell early!


When in doubt about how and where to buy your textbooks, consult your friends, peers and professors to help you decide which option is best for you. Hopefully, by using these tricks, navigating the complicated and expensive task of finding textbooks can bring a little less stress to the beginning of the new semester.

Photo: W. Wong

Leave a Reply