The Best Sites to Buy Textbooks

Published: November 21, 2013

If you are currently a college student, or have been a college student before, we all know that textbooks are not cheap. Over my years in college I have refined my skill of getting the best deal on a book. I hope this list helps do the same for you!

*In these lists I show screenshots of each site, with a textbook as an example.

  1. Amazon

    We all know what Amazon is by now. What is great about Amazon is there is usually more than one listing for each item, so you can try and get the best price for the book you need. Some listings have free shipping also, which is always a plus. You have to beware with Amazon though, and make sure you choose a condition you find suitable. I haven't run into any problems ever with a book being in worse condition than I hoped for yet, so hopefully you won't either! Also, if you get an Amazon Student account (it's free with a college email address!) you get free shipping for six months and then 50% off Amazon Prime. With Amazon you could also try and get a Kindle copy of a book if it's available. You don't need a Kindle to get Kindle books, you can read them on your PC or Mac. Renting is also usually an option with Amazon, which is an even cheaper way to get a textbook! You can also narrow your search by "new" or "used" or even seller reviews, to help guarantee you get the best deal.

  2. Chegg

    Chegg is a great resource for buying or renting a textbook. Chegg has various features, you can set up your courses and schedule to help you out, and it also has some study tools. Chegg also sometimes does a promo of if you purchase or rent a book from them they'll plant a tree, so it's also good to the environment! You can sell your book back after you are done, and if the book is rented you can ship it back for free! Also, usually when I've gotten a book from Chegg I get a little goodie in with the book, such as gum or Red Bull or something of the like.

  3. eBay

    eBay is also a great source, and something everyone has probably at least heard of, if not used. Just type in the ISBN number of the book or the title and see what comes up. Usually there are some good deals, and fast shipping. I've gotten a few textbooks from them, and what is great is you can sell the book to someone else once you are done! (Trying to sell your books back to a campus textbook company usually gets you less money than if you sold it online.)

  4. Half

    Half is also a great way to purchase or rent books. As you can gather from it's name, most textbooks are at least half the listing price, if not more, and sometimes they are in new condition. It lays out simply how you can search for a book, either through ISBN, title, author, or keyword, and once you search those, multiple listings appear, so you can find the best deal!

  5. Buying an eBook

    I mentioned that you could try to get a Kindle edition of a book via Amazon, but that's not the only eBook option. eBooks are growing in popularity, and are often cheaper than a regular book. You can print out any pages you like, or save paper and read the book on your laptop, or tablet, or even phone if you have a smart phone! I enjoyed eBooks also because if you took your laptop to class, you didn't have to worry about forgetting your textbook, it was right there.

In my opinion, Half is the best source, not only because it gives you its own price, but gives you listings on other stores as well, that way you know you got the best deal. All the other sources I've used too, probably Chegg after Half, and I hope this list helps you in your textbook buying! Thanks!

Allyson