Saving Money on College Textbooks

by Beth Montgomery on December 15, 2011 · 2 comments

in Frugal Living, Holidays, Online Shopping, Tips & Basics

This sponsored post was written by me on behalf of eCampus.com. Regardless of compensation, all opinions are 100% my own.

At college, I always bought used books at a store on the Ball State Campus.  I compared prices between the two local book stores and made sure to go early to get my books at the lowest possible price.  I thought I was being so frugal.

I don’t have kids in college yet, but I clearly remember the shock I felt when I saw that college textbooks were a lot more than any other book I’d ever bought in my entire life.  So, when my kids hit college, I don’t even want to image what that price will be!

A lot of bookstores, even those on campus, offer different options to help you save – buy new, buy used, rent new, or rent used.  So, you’d think that you’d get the best price right there, locally.  At least, that’s what I assumed.

When eCampus asked me to write a bit about saving money with services that let students rent college textbooks online, I was skeptical to be honest.  But, I tested it out by searching for books for a few basic classes and compared the prices at the bookstore I shopped at Ball State University to eCampus.

The truth was painful – I wasn’t so frugal after all.

Book Local Bookstore Price* eCampus Price
Infant, Children, and Adolescents
by Laura E. Berk
$70.25 Rental $65.10 Rental
Pathway to Astronomy
by Schneider
$61.85 Rental $58.24 Rental
World Regional Geography
by Douglas L. Johnson, etc…
$67.90-$123.50 Rental $40.74 Rental
The American Democracy
by Patterson
Not available for rental.
$114.75 Used
$153.00 New
$64.23 Rental
Essentials of Contemporary Management
by Gareth R. Jones
Not available for rental.
$92.80 Used
$123.75 New
$34.47 Rental
Management: Meeting + Exceeding Customer Expectations
by Warren R. Plunkett
Not available for rental.
$144.55 Used
$192.75 New
$77.23 Rental

Can you believe some of those price differences? And it seemed, at least for me, that the more advanced the courses got the more expensive the books were.  Especially, since most of those books weren’t available to rent or sometimes even used. But, on eCampus.com, it seemed the exact opposite for the books I searched.  Many that I would have to buy at the local bookstore, I could simply rent on eCampus for a fraction of the price.

Then there’s the end of the year.  I would always rush to sell my books to get money back, but sometimes those books weren’t being used again and they bookstore wouldn’t buy them.  I’d be stuck with a book, I’d probably never open again.  But, with eCampus, you aren’t stuck with books at the end of the year ever!  They always go back.  But, if you really want to sell used textbooks, you can do that on eCampus too!

Oh, and did I mention that shippings is FREE for all purchases of $59 or more? That’s about the costs of one college textbook, so it won’t be hard to hit that minimum.

What’s the most expensive textbook you bought in college?  Can you remember?

Sponsored by eCampus.com and conducted by In Good Cents. For more information, please read our terms & conditions and disclosure policy.
*Prices compared to T.I.S. College Bookstore on Ball State University Campus.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy Morgan December 15, 2011 at 3:00 PM

Chegg.com is also a good place to get prices on college textbook rentals.

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2 Jessica December 15, 2011 at 7:52 PM

We learned an interesting tip from my brother which is a similar idea to the eTextbooks. He and his wife gave my oldest son a Kindle for his graduation gift (he started his freshman year this past September) and we rented his books on Amazon. We saved over $200!! It was definitely worth the investment and he’s had no problems or issues with reading the textbooks, etc. from the Kindle.

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