Used Textbooks vs. New Textbooks

Are Used Textbooks Trash or Treasure?

Buying used textbooks can be a great way to save money if you’re a college student. One new textbook can cost $80 or more, and if you are taking five or six classes, that can quickly add up. If you buy used textbooks, you can easily save up to 40% or more off your total bill.

Getting Used Textbooks

There are a variety of ways to purchase used textbooks for your college classes. One way is to contact students directly. Check out campus bulletin boards at the end of a semester or the beginning of the following semester and you may see students selling (or even giving away) the textbooks they used last year

Another source of used college textbooks is online retailers. There are a number of online stores that offer used textbooks for sale. Just make sure the version of the textbook you’re purchasing is the same exact one you need for class.

The most obvious source of used textbooks is your campus bookstore. One advantage of buying used textbooks at the campus bookstore is that they often have a number of copies of the books you’re looking for and you can often find used textbooks that look like new. If you find a used textbook from someone who purchased it for a class they decided to drop later, the book will barely have been used.

The Bottom Line

The amount of savings that you can achieve from buying used textbooks is considerable. You will be getting the same content but at a cheaper price. This is very helpful for the cost-conscious college student. With all of the expenses associated with college, such as tuition increases, room and board, and student activity fees, buying used textbooks can provide you with guaranteed savings each semester.


I worked in the used textbook business for a number of years, both during and after finishing my education. One of the rip offs to students comes from the publishers of certain textbooks who will have the college professor rewrite about ten percent of the existing edition of their text book to create a new edition. Since the former edition is not the current one, though the data is largely the same, the students end up having to buy a brand new edition, making it harder to buy the old one from a use book retailer or a friend. sells used textbooks. Actually, they're peddled by independent retailers, but sold on the Amazon Marketplace.

you may also try checking for free listings of college textbooks for sale

Yes, you are right. I agree with your statements about used textbooks. When I was in college I bought used whenever I could. I also bought them online. When I did buy on-line I used a book price comparison search engine to compare prices so I knew where the cheapest price was. The one I use now is, for finding discount books. Make sure if do buy used the book is at least in working shape. I remember one time the book had a coffee stain on it!


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