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Textbook Deals

How to be a Baller on a College Student Budget: Textbook Edition

April 12, 2016

It happens every semester. You're excited about your new class, you eagerly look over the reading list...and then you see the prices. The financial burden of an extremely pricey textbook enters into each of our Moravian College experiences to not only suffocate our already cash-strapped accounts but also crush our spirits.


Worst part is…you probably could have found that $250 book for a lot cheaper and saved yourself some heartache along the way. Here are three tips to use the next time you're staring at a required class materials list that includes a few hundred dollars in academic reading.

1. Begin your search EARLY.

One of the most important factors in the perennial search for affordable textbooks is time. The cheapest textbook rentals are snapped up quickly by other bargain shoppers, so it's important to begin searching as soon as you pick your classes. Not only will looking early help you find rentals and other cheaper options more easily, it will also mean that you can find the international versions of books (which are usually much cheaper). The early bird gets the worm, or in this case, the bargain price on that 2000 page textbook about business law.


Wake Up, It’s time to get some textbooks.

2. Communication is Key.

Nothing is worse than buying a bunch of textbooks, only to find they're more of a supplement than a necessity. Talk to professors and people who have taken the class before to see how important the books listed on the syllabus truly are. This is especially true for courses that have multiple books listed. Often, professors will place books on hold in the library for student use or have alternative options like older editions if a book is not a major part of the course. These can save you a lot of cash and stress. By asking what books are most important, you can be sure not to get any books you will only look at for a week and then let sit on your floor and collect dust while you wonder why you spent extra for the expanded edition with online tutoring and practice tests.


Said no professor ever.

3. Look beyond the bookstore!

This is by far the most important of the three tips. Sites such as are like trivago, except they don’t have a tv spokesman and don’t give you great rates on hotel rooms. Rather, they collect prices of books from different outlets and show you where you can grab them cheapest. Places like Chegg and Amazon are placed side by side on BigWords, and you are able to sort based on preferences: rent vs. buy, ebook vs. hardcover, new vs. used. You're able to search for the cheapest option possible without the hassle of actually searching. It pays to be lazy and well informed.

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Did I mention that their mascot is a giant orange robot?

What are your top tips for saving money on text books? Share in the comments!