GUEST BLOG POST: Buying College Textbooks on a College Budget

As an adjunct professor at Florida Gulf Coast University, I have the pleasure of teaching Public Relations Strategy to a fantastic group of motivated, inspiring students who are poised to enter their professional lives.  Their recent blog post assignments reflect a diversity of interests, passions and pastimes and I will be featuring as many of them as possible on my blog over the next few weeks.  Enjoy and feel free to comment!

Buying College Textbooks on a College Budget

Guest blog by Marie Kennedy

You can save nearly 50 percent or more on textbooks!


At the beginning of each semester, you may find yourself standing in long lines at your campus’ bookstore impatiently waiting to buy overpriced textbooks. You will finally arrive at the cash register only to discover that you’re about to spend this month’s rent money on four textbooks. But there’s no need to crack open that piggy bank and dump out your savings just yet. With the right amount of patience and time, you could be saving nearly 50 percent or more on textbooks and even get some money back if you wish to sell them. Here are a few tips to follow when wanting to save money during textbook season.


Consult with your Professor

Email your professor before the semester starts, and ask if he or she plans on using the required reading material for the course. Sometimes the required reading material is not personally chosen by the professor, causing your $150 textbook to stay closed the entire semester. If your professor disregards the textbook and tells you not to worry about buying it, you could save a decent amount of money.

By selling your textbooks, you may earn a considerable amount of money back.

You may also ask your professor if you could purchase an older edition of the required textbook. Older editions are significantly cheaper than the current one, and the material hardly changes. Because of this, some professors will even encourage you to purchase an older edition. You just have to contact them prior to the semester in order to receive such information.

Bye-Bye, Bookstore

A new book at the bookstore may be $120; the used version will be about $95; and it will cost you $75 to rent it. Fortunately, you can possibly find the same book on Amazon in a like-new used condition for the price of the bookstore’s rental or used version.

It’s never smart to buy a brand-new book at the bookstore because more than likely you’ll never get even a quarter of what you paid for it. A used book seems like a decent option; however, you can end up with a rainbow of highlighting inside the book or sloppy notes scribbled along the pages. Considering the price, rental books are sometimes the best option, but you can’t sell them back. A like-new book from Amazon, however, can be sold, allowing you to make a considerable amount of money back, sometimes making a profit. Keep in mind that like-new books hardly ever have writing or highlighting inside, making them more sellable to future buyers.

Buy Early, Sell Later

Order and purchase your textbooks at least three weeks before the semester starts for two reasons: First, you want to make sure you receive them on time before classes begin. And textbook prices usually increase, even on Amazon, as soon as the semester begins; therefore, you want to buy early while prices are low.


When prices are incredibly low, you want to buy, but when prices increase at the start of a semester, you want to sell. You may be able to sell your textbook for more than what you paid for it, or you could compete with other sellers who have increased their prices, and sell your books for less. You’ll be selling them fast and still make some money back.

Sell, Sell, Sell

Keep your books posted even if you don’t sell them right away. Even if a new edition of the book comes out, there may still be people out there who prefer the edition you have. It’s important to check on your posted books often and possibly change the price accordingly in order to get a buyer.


And don’t worry about not knowing how to ship a book. Amazon is extremely user friendly and properly guides you. When you’re ready to go to the post office to ship a book, tell the cashier you’ll be sending it ‘media mail.’ Media mail service is a cost-efficient way to mail books and other types of media. This will put a few extra bucks back into your pockets just as the rest of these textbook tips will. Happy textbook season!


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