There’s been a lot of buzz around the financial blog community lately about saving money on textbooks. At The Simple Dollar, Trent suggests getting the Amazon.com Visa and using it only for textbooks, and paying it off immediately each time with your book money. I’ll have to keep this in mind when I go back to school, since that’s the credit card I already have. Over at Stingy Students, there’s a great list of sites to check for your books at the lowest price, but they didn’t list my favorite site of all, so I’d like to take a minute to talk about it.
This endorsement comes with no strings. I don’t know the guys who run the site (even though they are from my city), and I offer my opinion without compensation. There, disclaimer done.
Starving Scholars is just plain cool. It lets you list the textbooks you have that you want to unload, and name the price you want to unload them for – much higher than what your bookstore will offer you. (My bookstore tried to give me $10 for a book I paid $100 for, I told them “no thanks.”) You can search the books other people have listed, and it will tell you who at your school has the book your looking for, as well as people at other schools who are willing to ship. I bought one of my textbooks through this site, and didn’t have to pay any shipping, because I just met the guy outside of my campus convenience store and paid cash!
They’re constantly adding new features as well – you can now list anything you want other than textbooks, and there’s a professor rating system as well (but what college related site doesn’t have that?). The only problem would be that not enough people use it, so you probably won’t find most of your books. Still, it’s worth going to the site and listing the books you have to sell – you never know, you might get a bite!
Here’s the link to the books I’m currently selling on the site, so you can get an idea of how it works.
In the end, any method you use to get around the bookstore’s evil monopoly will probably save you a ton of money. I had trouble ever managing it, because most of my film school textbooks simply weren’t available anywhere else. So, I wish you all luck in your quest to save money – I’m going to look for a major with cheaper textbooks!