Get Books Without Spending a Fortune

Before you type in your credit card or debit card number to pay for the cart full of new books at your college bookstore, there are other ways to get the books you need for less.

Stop! Put the card down and back away from the keyboard. Before you type in your credit card or debit card number to pay for the cart full of new books at your college bookstore, there are other ways to get the books you need for less.


You can cut the cost of your books by purchasing them used. Not all books are beat up with obscene pictures drawn all over the inside cover, so do not be afraid to purchase a few used books.

Rent ‘em

If your college bookstore does not clearly advertise that it rents books to students, ask a bookstore employee if you can rent your textbooks from the store. If so, renting books is a useful way of cutting cost. If the store does not offer book rentals, you can also use online resources such as,, and

Trade ‘em

If you have a book that a friend needs for his or her class and they have a book that you need, why not trade them. Trading your books with a friend could be free depending on how much that friend likes you!

E-book ‘em

Buying and renting electronic books has grown in popularity over recent years in part because they cost less than some paperback or hardcover books. In most cases you can purchase e-books if you have a Kindle, Nook, Mac, or PC.

Sell ‘em

Selling your books can help you get the books you need for school by putting extra cash in your pocket. If you purchase used and electronic books or decide to rent books, then you may even have money left over.

In addition to online rental sites, use Amazon and Ebay to buy and sell this semester’s books. They are great alternatives to major retail bookstores.

Good luck and happy college saving!

P.S. As with anything on the Internet, there is a risk to buying your books from noncommercial stores. When searching for the books you need on the Web, take time to read reviews rating a seller and double check that the author’s name, copyright dates, and ISBN numbers match exactly.

Like what you’re reading?

Join the CollegeXpress community! Create a free account and we’ll notify you about new articles, scholarship deadlines, and more.

Join Now

academics book stores books budgets finance personal finance rent books textbooks used books

About Ashley Lisenby

Ashley Lisenby

Ashley Lisenby is a Boston University undergraduate student in the College of Communication majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in African American studies.  She is a DJ and news commentator for her campus radio station WTBU. She also writes pieces for one of many campus blogs, B.U. Culture Shock and had the honor of writing a feature on a Boston Marathon runner for B.U. News Service 2011. During the past few summers Ashley has interned for Clear Channel Radio and worked for Radio Arte in her beloved hometown, Chicago. Aside from her passions for radio and writing she is inspired by spirituality, books, music, travel, and art. Ashley hopes that one day all her interests will collide into one really fulfilling and enjoyable career.

You can subscribe to Ashley's CollegeXpress blog


Join our community of
over 5 million students!

CollegeXpress has everything you need to simplify your college search, get connected to schools, and find your perfect fit.

Join CollegeXpress
CollegeXpress Logo


Are you our next winner?

Register now for our scholarship giveaway

College Matches