Going to college for the first time is often a shock to new students because of how expensive everything is. One of those expenses is college textbooks. You could easily spend a few hundred dollars on one textbook for a single class. If you are taking several classes each semester, the costs will add up quickly. Luckily, there are a few ways you can save some money.
Use a Credit Card
Credit cards are an easy way to pay for your books and help you become more responsible with your money too. You will need to make payments on the balance the next month, and having one can help you manage your budget on your own. Choosing the right credit card is an important decision, so make sure to do your research before picking one.
Look at Libraries
Even if your college library says it does not loan out textbooks, check out their collection, as well as books offered through interlibrary loan services. Sometimes classes require books that aren’t strictly considered textbooks. You might be able to find books on psychology or history through your school’s library. Of course, other students also know how to check the school’s library, so the sooner you can request your books, the better.
Sometimes, professors write books to be used in the classes they teach, and they may have these books on reserve at the library. That means you may not be able to check out the book, but you might be able to use it at the library for a couple of hours to complete assigned reading. These books also often have limited availability. Don’t limit your search to your school’s library only. If you have a card for your hometown library, check out their e-book collection. See if you are eligible to get a card for the library in your college town as well since you might have access to different materials there.
Use Student Loans
Student loans can be used for more than just tuition. They can also help you cover other expenses, including college textbooks. It’s a good idea to max out your federal student loans before taking out private ones because federal ones often come with more protection. Still, you will likely find federal ones by themselves are not enough. Private student loans are another option. If you can get a cosigner, you may be able to qualify for a lower interest rate than you would otherwise.
Look for Textbook Swaps
At the end of the semester, students usually do not need their books any longer, and they will sit around collecting dust. Some schools have student run organizations that created book swaps for students to unload books they no longer need and find ones they do need. Not all schools have one, so if yours does not, consider starting one yourself. Try to get connected to a student organization on camps to get the word out about your swap. You could also set up a social media group for students to connect with each other.
Use Project Gutenberg
While you likely won’t find new releases on Project Gutenberg, you can find older classics on this website in the form of e-books. If you are taking an English or literature class, you’ll likely be able to find some of the required reading materials on Project Gutenberg. You can also find works on subjects like microbiology, archeology, and horticulture. Just know that these are works whose copyrights have expired, so English students will likely find the site more relevant than science or engineering students will.
Look to Kindle Options
If you are a member of Amazon Prime and own a Kindle device, you might be eligible for the Kindle Lending Library. You might not be able to find a science textbook here, but you can find classic and popular works in this library. Amazon Prime offers a discounted plan for college students if you register using your university email address to prove you are in school. You may need to upload a student ID as well. There are some very affordable Kindle devices out there, so you might find getting these two things is worth it for the number of free books you can find.