5 Ways to Save Your Soul From Your School Bookstore

By Allie Caton on July 11, 2017

Before I even started learning anything in my first college course, I learned that textbook prices will tear you apart and leave you for dead. My freshman year, I made the mistake of buying every single textbook listed in my syllabi from my school bookstore. I very quickly realized I had made an awful, awful mistake. By my sophomore year, I had a plan of attack that would alleviate at least some of the heartbreak over my dwindling savings.

Next time you are faced with the agonizing task of buying textbooks, try out some of these options before selling your soul to your school bookstore.



This is the best money saving tactic there is when it comes to buying textbooks. In many cases, the textbooks listed in the syllabus or on your school’s online portal aren’t necessary for the course. Try to avoid buying any textbooks until at least a day or two into the class. I even try to wait a week if I’m able to just to be sure.

I know it might be tempting to jump the gun and just order everything ahead of time to get it out of the way, but try to avoid this for as long as possible! It will save you TONS of money.

2. E-textbooks

E-textbooks have become a staple in my academic supply arsenal. I almost never buy physical textbooks anymore because e-textbooks are just so significantly cheaper. There are a number of awesome websites that have e-textbooks. My two favorites are Amazon and Chegg. Amazon has an awesome feature that allows you to rent e-textbooks for an even cheaper price than buying the e-textbook or renting the physical book. And, you don’t have to worry about shipping it back come the end of the semester which is a big time saver when you’re studying for finals.

You could also try Google searching your textbook to see if there are any free versions of it online — just make sure you aren’t downloading anything illegally!

3. Rent

Along the same lines as the last category, renting textbooks is always cheaper than buying them. It’s also helpful to be able to send your textbook back at the end of a semester instead of having to worry about storing it over summer break or just finding a place for it in your room. I almost never crack open my textbooks after a course is finished, so it’s always nice to have it off of my hands at the end of the semester or school year. You just have to remember to return it! I’m definitely guilty of forgetting to return or send back my rented textbook and losing way too much money because of it. Renting is awesome (rent textbooks from Uloop!), just be responsible about it!

4. Buying used

Buying used textbooks is another great way to avoid costs. You can find used textbooks in many places. First, check with any friends who have taken the classes you are before and see if they would be willing to sell (or even borrow!) their textbook. If your university or class year has a Facebook page, try posting there to see if anyone would be willing to sell their own textbooks.

If neither of these options work, you can find heaps of websites that have used textbooks. Again, UloopAmazon, and Chegg are great companies to buy cheap, used textbooks from. You could also try checking your local used book shop or Goodwill for textbooks since many college students will donate or sell their old books to stores like these.

5. Make some money back

If you follow the four steps above, you are guaranteed to have some extra money in your pocket. But there’s more! At the end of the semester, you can try and make some money off the textbooks (new or used) that you have bought. Many colleges will have vans around campus at the end of the semester who buy back textbooks. Check out each one and compare the amount that they are willing to give you for your books.

If these services don’t come to your campus, you can try a number of online options. Again, if you are part of a Facebook group for your year or major, you can try posting an ad in there. You can ask around people you know to see if anyone needs to pawn off a textbook as well. If all of these options fail, and you don’t want to hang on to your textbooks, you can always donate them. You might not get any money for it, but at least you will be helping someone else save money in the future.

So, next time you get that list of “necessary” textbooks, try out a few of these options before laying down $300 for a single textbook. It might take a bit of extra effort, but your bank account will thank you.

By Allie Caton

Uloop Writer
Allie is a creative at heart. She loves to draw and fawns over comic book illustrations and animation. She hopes to be able to use the skills she has cultivated as a Communications major to bring value to the creative industry. Her goal is to one day work somewhere where she can be around creatives while utilizing her writing and illustration skills.

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