Money Saving Strategy for Spring Textbooks

This is the process I go through for each of my text books. It is labor intensive, but it’s worthwhile because it allows me to find least expensive option for each book.

This semester I’m taking a media ethics class (among others). I’m using the textbook to show how I find the cheapest option.

Here is my process:

If you know anyone who might still have the textbook, check with them first – they would probably be happy to help you out! I haven’t been able to find anyone who has this one. So here it goes:

First I check out my options on Amazon:

This is the offending textbook

This is the offending textbook

  • $63.03 new, eligible for free shipping
  • $43.25 used, plus $3.99 shipping ($47.24)
  • $22.72 hard copy rental, plus shipping
  • $43.79 Kindle edition
  • $25.52 Kindle rental

Then I check BookRenter:

  • $54.43 rental, free shipping

Then Garfield Bookstore (Lots of universities have their own bookstore, this is PLU’s):

  • $64.95 new, plus shipping unless you buy it in person

Renting vs. Buying

Renting typically has the lowest up-front cost.

Buying an eBook has the next lowest up-front cost. Pro: it allows you to search for keywords on your laptop or Kindle, which helps you skim readings and find answers to questions. Con: it has no resale value. Note: you can read kindle eBooks on your laptop even if you don’t have a kindle.

Buying a hard copy gives you the option to re-sell (you can usually get back about half your money).

My general rule: I get the rental or eBook if it is half the price of the hard copy.

In this Case

It’s cheapest to rent a hard copy from Amazon ($22.72)

If I buy the used copy from Amazon ($47.24) I will be able to get around $20 back when I re-sell it (figure in Amazon’s fees). That leaves me with total out of pocket cost of $27.24. In this case it’s better to rent!

Unfortunately, after all that, I still had to spend around $200 on textbooks for spring – Yikes!

How do (did/would) you handle the ridiculous expense of textbooks?

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3 thoughts on “Money Saving Strategy for Spring Textbooks

  1. I’ve been out of college for many years, so we didn’t have the options you do now. I always tried to get the books on sale, then sold them back at the end of the term for a few bucks (for lunch). I love the idea or renting a book and the convenience of downloading on a Kindle.

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