How to Buy College Textbooks Online for Cheap

I love writing for College Cures because I don’t want you to make the same mistakes as me.

Two weeks before classes started my freshman year, I freaked out trying to figure out when and where to buy college textbooks.

I called my mom nearly in tears because I absolutely needed my books right then. All of my other friends pre-ordered them and I hadn’t even thought about it yet.

Foreign Language Books

Of course, since it was last minute and I thought I needed them before school started (which you don’t!), so I went to our Barnes & Noble store on campus and bought all of them brand new.

That cost me some big bucks that I didn’t have to spend.

Here’s what I did the next semester before I went out to buy college textbooks:

Get organized

The best thing I did was create a Word Document (or Google Doc) with what books I need and each one’s ISBN. It’s so hard to remember all of those little numbers, especially when there are sometimes multiple books for just one class.

I liked using Google Docs so I was able to check out my findings on my phone, laptop or library computer.

Barnes & Noble

You need to go to Google and search “Barnes & Noble” and your school’s name. Now, most colleges use the bookstore to sell books on or near campus.

Grab the ISBN, title and author and save it in your document. Plus, write down how much the B&N version costs

Book Finder

Use to compare prices across a lot of sites to find the cheapest ones. It’s easy to fill out different sites if you have Google Chrome or Firefox with auto-fill once you’re in the checkout section.


Some of you aren’t book lovers and just want your college textbooks for the semester only. Check out for book rentals. You can rent the book for one or more semesters and sometimes it’s much cheaper than buying + buy back money.


This may seem insane, but check out your local library or school library. Sometimes those strange or common books are in there. You may need to put a reserve on the book, but this it the best and free option for those of you on a tight budget.

If you’re only finding outrageous prices, here are some other options:

Book buyback

When it gets to be the end of the semester or year, a lot of sites will buy back your books. You can use that same little spreadsheet to find out where you can get the best bang for your buck. Plus, remembering book buyback will help you when you start buying those crazy expensive books for that class you don’t really care for. A popular site that will buy back your books is The majority of students have made comments that you can get more cash for your used books with them compared to the majority of online websites. The best part about their service is it doesn’t cost you anything to ship the books to them!

Have any website that you love to use to buy college textbooks? Share in the comments below!

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