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How to Buy Your College Textbooks Cheap

1. Before the semester begins, find out required text(s) for a course (from the bookstore), and email the instructor to confirm whether an older edition would be acceptable. The difference between editions can be well over $100. Also doublecheck if online access (such as through Pearson) is required--usually online access includes the etext, and publishers might offer an additional looseleaf copy at a low price.

2. Check Amazon for the cheapest used copy of the text (including older editions, if the instructor allows use of older editions). Looseleaf copies can't be resold online, but are usually significantly cheaper. You might also consider renting. But before buying from Amazon--

3. Just in case, Google the title of the text and "pdf" or "free ebook" to check if it's available online. offers over 54,000 free ebooks, for example.

4. If no free copies are available,  try, which searches over 40 used book sites, including Amazon, Alibris, Abebooks,, etc., and compares prices (including shipping) from low to high. This can help you decide to buy the book from a seller or rent from Amazon.

4. If your university or community college has a Facebook page/group or other forum where students list their used books, they might have better prices (check to compare).

5. If you're lucky, someone might be selling your text on eBay. Chances are, you're the only person who sees the listing, and you can pick up the book at starting bid. Not sure why sellers think someone will be looking for a particular book on eBay in the next 7-10 days, but that's how I got my Lehne's Pharmacology for cheap. Also, eBay sellers ship fast.

This pile of lovelies came from Amazon, Abebooks (through, eBay, and Better World Books (through


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