Tips for College Freshman to Save Hundreds on Textbooks

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The average college student spends $900 annually on textbooks. These tips can help students hundreds of dollars each year.

The biggest budget shock to college freshman and their parents is the cost of textbooks. Many students hit campus unaware that their textbooks will cost them $900 a year on average

With the largest freshman class just weeks away from beginning their college careers amid the sharpest decline in consumer confidence in decades, many college freshman and their parents need ways to save on their college costs. According to Steve Loyola, president and founder of Best Book Buys, a leading online comparison shopping service for books and a service of Best Web Buys, students can save hundreds of dollars by shopping for their books online now.

"The biggest budget shock to college freshman and their parents is the cost of textbooks. Many students hit campus unaware that their textbooks will cost them $900 a year on average," said Loyola. "However students have more options than ever in finding their textbooks and with a little planning, students can save hundreds of dollars on their books."

Loyola offers the following tips to save money on textbooks:

  • Start now and order early. Research what books you will need as soon as you get your fall schedule. You can check to see if your professor has a syllabus online or can simply email your professors requesting the book lists. The best deals and selections for used textbooks are when supplies are at their highest.
  • See if your school has a book swapping site. Just google the name of your school and book swap (e.g., "UCLA book swap").
  • Check to see if the college library has your textbook available.
  • Use comparison shopping sites like which search the Internet for your textbooks across thousands of sellers.
  • Compare the costs of buying textbooks against the price of renting textbooks. Remember, renting a book requires returning the book in pristine condition or you will be required to purchase it at the end of your rental term. If you like to highlight your books, renting is not a good option for you.
  • Consider buying an international edition. An international edition may have a paperback cover instead of a hardcover and may have different text or graphics than the U.S. version. Before purchasing any alternate edition, check the seller's website to confirm that the book has the same content as the U.S. edition.
  • Check availability and shipping time before ordering. Buying from the least expensive seller is probably not a good deal if the book isn't immediately available.
  • Check for store coupons and free shipping offers. Google the store name and coupon (e.g., "Amazon coupon").
  • Before ordering, check out the store's reputation and return policy. You want to make sure the store will accept returns and that the store provides ample time to return your books in the event you change classes.
  • Don't forget to sell books back when the semester is over. Best Book Buys has links to participating online bookstores that buy textbooks at

About Best Web Buys:
Best Web Buys(tm) first made a name for itself eleven years ago with the launch of one of the first online price comparison sites- Best Book Buys(R). Best Book Buys has been helping college students from more than 1500 colleges across the nation find the best prices for their new and used textbooks since 1997. Best Web Buys' five product specific sites -- Best Book Buys, Best Music Buys, Best Video Buys, Best Bike Buys and Best Electronic Buys -- compare prices, shipping and availability of more than six million titles and items at hundreds of online stores and thousands of Alibris, eBay, and Amazon marketplace sellers. Steve Loyola, a former Jet Propulsion Laboratory computer scientist, founded the company.

Editors Note: Best Web Buys, Best Book Buys, Best Bike Buys, Best Electronic Buys, Best Music Buys and Best Video Buys are trademarks of Best Web Buys. All other trade or brand names mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.


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Theresa Smith, Pathway Communications
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