Buying Used Textbooks

A Little Textbook Overview

The reason you enrolled in the college or university you chose was surely to gain knowledge which would help you parlay that experience to start the career of your choice. The resources for receiving this information and keeping it in your head are all available, but you have to take advantage of them. Your professors teach courses during class times, but they also expect you to do some work on your own. This is typically done through reading the textbooks that they assign prior to the start of the semester. The problem with this system, however, is that the college or university will almost never include the cost of textbooks in your tuition. This means that you will generally not receive financial aid to cover the price of acquiring the textbooks your professors asks you to buy. There are several ways to avoid breaking the bank with these purchases, among them is buying old textbooks.

Places to Buy Textbooks

Here are several places where you can go to purchase your textbooks:

  • College or university book store - Your school most likely has its own book store that will have all of the textbooks that have been assigned for the college's curriculum for the semester. This is the most convenient way to purchase your books, but it will also most likely be the most expensive.
  • Private book store - There are probably a number of private book stores around your campus that also offer the textbooks you need. These will generally be cheaper than the books you can purchase at your college's store.
  • Online - The Internet will undoubtedly be the least expensive source for textbooks out of these three options. You may have to search for some time to find the best deals, but you will be rewarded with considerable savings.

Buying the Old Edition of a Textbook

The newest edition of a textbook can cost more than $300 and generally retails for around $100. Consider that the average student takes five courses a semester and each course will probably require a textbook; the cost of purchasing these materials will amount to around $500.

Purchasing the old edition of the textbook you are required to buy can be a very wise financial decision. The savings from buying the previous edition of a textbook are usually at least 50 percent, and sometimes considerably more. Old editions can be purchased at book stores, but are more commonly found online through various websites like

Make Sure Your Professor is Fine with the Old Edition

Prior to buying the previous edition of a textbook, it is imperative that you consult your professor regarding the purchase. Some professors assign problems for homework from the textbook and this causes problems if you have the older edition. This is because textbooks generally do not change much from one edition to the next, but they almost always change their practice problems. If your professor does not ask you to do problems from your textbook, chances are you can buy the old edition safely.


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