Saving your Wallet: Tips to Save Money on Textbooks


(Buchtelite file photo)

By Ben Sewell, Guest Writer

For many college students, one experience that is shared is the price of textbooks.

The University of Akron senior Grant Holtzapple, recalling a particularly expensive semester,  said every single textbook he was required to get for the courses were the newest edition and after totaling them the bill came to over $500.

According to Mark Perry writing for, the price of textbooks have increased by 90% between January 1998 and July 2016. These prices may seem overwhelming, however, with a few tips and tricks, it is possible to save money while shopping for your textbooks.

An excellent way to start on the path to this goal is to wait until classes commence or email professors beforehand to ask about book usage in the class. This is helpful because some classes do not rely heavily on the textbook. Others may only require it for a certain portion of the class.

Simply inquiring about this information can allow extra time to purchase textbooks. At times they may not even need to be purchased at all. It is even possible that an older, cheaper version of the same textbook will work for the class.

After gathering information regarding required textbooks, one must then order them. When it comes to this step, many options exist. The first being to purchase them from the campus bookstore, but be aware.  UA student Nikki Thompson said, “It’s worse when you buy from the University.” However, a student may rent a book from The University of Akron bookstore for the duration of the semester. This will often result in a smaller bill for the student.

Some textbooks have a computer code included for online assignments and cannot be rented. For textbooks such as these, or to save even more money on others, the option of digital copies exists. Often necessary codes accompany the digital version. In addition, digital downloads for textbooks tend to be cheaper than their hardcopy counterparts. On top of these options, students can look for used textbooks online either from an individual or company.

Another possibility that exists is to ask the professor if they know of any former students selling a used copy of the textbook. On certain occasions, professors may have knowledge of a person wanting to sell their old book. This could save you a substantial amount of money. Most students selling their old textbooks don’t expect to receive the same amount as other buying options. On the other side of this issue, students can sell their old textbooks.

They may either sell their books to the University bookstore, sell them to a fellow student, or place them for sale online. The sale of certain textbooks that are no longer of use, allows for students to make money to put back into buying new textbooks. It may not be what was paid for it, but something is better than nothing. Not only does this allow you to make some cash from old books, but will keep them from cluttering your home.

These tips should be helpful for college students at all stages of their education. With the steadily rising rates of the price of textbooks, it is imperative to find ways of saving money while purchasing. With a little research and planning prior to purchase, it is possible to save substantially. The important thing is to stay on top of ordering the books and not wait until the last minute. This will keep future students from having the same feeling about textbooks as The University of Akron senior Sydney Sien who said textbooks are “expensive, ridiculous, highway robbery, and unnecessary.”