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Introduction to Cheap Textbooks

One of the worst parts of attending college is paying for the astronomically priced textbooks. Cheap textbooks are hard to find. I’m cheap, to begin with, so spending over two hundred dollars on a textbook that was only going to give me a headache just plain sucked. I did some research, and the obvious websites are listed, but there should be a couple you haven’t heard of before. With that being said there are SO MANY options to buy textbooks out there. Don’t feel bad for commenting on this post with a site that may help others if it’s not listed! I want this to be a collaborative space where you feel comfortable sharing tips on grabbing the cheapest text. We all want the most bang for our buck — especially as college students!

Before we start here a a few quick tips that may help you not have to actually purchase text books at all:

  • Look for online PDFs of the textbook. Sometimes people scan or upload PDF versions of textbooks. Be careful though! This is, or can be, illegal.
  • Buy the e-version. It’s most likely cheaper. If you have a Kindle, iPad, or laptop this might work for you! If you need a physical copy of something to learn best though — I get it. I was like that!
  • Purchase older versions of the text especially for things like literature anthologies. The only annoying part about this is the pagination may be off. So, when reviewing assignments you may have to refer to the table of contents a bit more to figure out what you’re actually supposed to be reading.
  • Wait to purchase your textbooks until after attending the first class. The first class is usually used to go over the syllabus and begin taking notes. So for most courses, you can get away with not having the book for the first class. The syllabus can also let you know how often you are actually going to be using the text.
  • This tip goes along with the one above. If you are only using a small portion of the book try to find those readings online before purchasing!

Cheap Textbook Websites


Here’s the obvious one! I really liked Chegg because they are easy to rent from, easy to return books to, and even buy back textbooks you purchased! A lot of my textbooks came from Chegg. They have great customer service and do have great pricing for the majority of their textbooks.

Abe’s Books

Abe’s books is a lot like Chegg, but they have a lot more literature. So if you’re like I was, an English major, you will need to purchase multiple books for multiple classes and paying full price for novels at the campus bookstore or Barnes and Noble can get pricey. You can find classic novels on Abe’s for under five dollars. This site really comes in handy for any English courses. They do sell used textbooks too!

Slug Books

The mecca! Slug Books is where you should really start. You can enter in the ISBN number for any textbook and it will give you the lowest price to rent or buy across multiple websites. It’s the Expedia of textbooks!

Valore Books

I used Valore a lot too while in college. I believe I bought a couple of my Norton Anthologies from here. They sell used textbooks for the fraction of the original price and should definitely be a site to check.


This is one I came across later in my college years. It’s specifically for renting textbooks only. So if you’re a renter, this is for you! They are super cheap (you can rent a Norton Anthology from them for around $30 when they’re usually $100 or more). They’re a lifesaver!

If you want to know more than how to find cheap textbooks, read about the must-have items I had in college click here.

A Bonus Site

AMAZON! Of course, who wouldn’t look at the Amazon Rentals! I wanted to add this in because I had someone mention this to me after reading this post. You can find textbook rentals here.

Below is one of my favorite text book rentals I used during my undergraduate career. If you are an English major I highly recommend this:

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