6 Strategies to Save Money On College Textbooks

College textbooks can cost you a pretty penny. What's a savvy college student to do? Here are six practical strategies that you can employ to save money on college textbooks!

Updated 19 Feb 2019

6 Strategies to Save Money On College Textbooks - Feature-Image

Entering college can be costly. As if tuition fees aren't expensive enough, you have to worry about purchasing textbooks too, which can cost a pretty penny!

But don't fret. With a little bit of creativity and effort, you can definitely reduce the amount of money that you spend on college textbooks.

Here are some practical tips and tricks that you can use to save money on college textbooks.

1. Buy Used or Second-Hand Textbooks

This is BY FAR the most common practice at many colleges. And for good reasons — you get your textbooks for cheap, and other students can make a few bucks themselves. You both win!

Check out various social media pages that students have created to advertise books that are available for sale. You could also try your luck at some of Malaysia's marketplace websites, such as Mudah.my or Adpost.com. Other students could be selling textbooks at a discount.

However, don't forget to ensure that you are buying a book of reasonable condition! Look for missing pages and scribbles in the book that may make the book less functional. It's one thing to save money on textbooks; it's another to have one that won't be helpful in your studies.

2. Always Compare Prices

Buying textbooks from your college bookstore is like purchasing groceries at the nearest 7-Eleven store. You pay a higher price for it being convenient and last-minute.

Make sure you compare prices at both physical AND online bookstores before making your purchase. As long as you have the ISBN number of your textbook, you can easily compare across various bookstores. Online bookstores often have discount coupons as well, so make sure you do a quick Google search and also check their Facebook and Twitter feeds.

Here are some popular online bookstores that you can check out:

3. DO NOT Ignore Your College Library

If you think that your college library is not much use, think again!

College libraries will usually have all the textbooks that you need. And the best part is, they are completely FREE! You can usually borrow the books for about a week, depending on your college library regulations.

But of course, free things usually don't come easy. Make sure you stay updated on the availability of the textbooks that you are interested in, especially during exam periods.

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4. Share Textbooks With Your College Friends

Got a friend who is taking one or more of the same classes as you?

Strike a pact to share textbooks! Go in together on the cost of the textbooks and split the resale earnings at the end of the semester.

This works really well if you and your friend have the same subjects, but the both of you are taking them during different semesters. Even if you are taking the same classes during the same semester, careful planning and studying together can help to overcome this!

5. Consider Purchasing Older Editions

Newer editions are often not all that different from previous editions. Sometimes, all publishers do is change the book cover, make some minor updates and change the page numbers!

To ensure that you're not purchasing a completely outdated textbook, compare both the old and new editions to make sure there aren't any major differences between them. In addition, check with your lecturers too, as they will be able to highlight to you what the differences are.

Remember to do your research, otherwise you will have a hard time revising.

6. BB1M Vouchers is as Good as Free Money

Yes, you've got it right — free money!

All students are entitled to RM250 worth of BB1M vouchers, which can be used at major book retailers to purchase books that you require.

Some retailers offer additional promotions for using BB1M vouchers, so it's always good to do a little comparison shopping before deciding where to spend your precious vouchers.

What other tips and tricks do you have to save money on college textbooks? Let us know in the comments below!

Looking for other ways to save money in college? Check out this article: 5 Money-Saving Tips Every College Student Needs to Know!

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    Loh Sue May

    Loh Sue May

    Editor and writer. When I'm not busy putting words onto pages, I'm messing with spreadsheets and playing air guitar.