College is one of the most expensive experiences in life. Not only do students need to pay for their tuition, but there are also various other costs like food, transportation, and rent.
When it comes to college costs, most expenses need to be paid in full and can’t be skimped out on. Luckily, textbooks don’t fall under this category. Textbooks can cost students hundreds to thousands of dollars every semester and are rarely reusable.
However, with the internet developing at a rapid pace, there are more ways than ever to get textbooks online and save on college expenses. Here are some of the best sites to get college textbooks for cheap (or even for free in some cases).
CampusBooks is a site that lets you sell, buy, or rent college textbooks from others. Instead of relying on its own database, CampusBooks looks at different sites across the web to find the best deals for you. When you search for textbooks on CampusBooks, it will look at sites like Amazon, Chegg, and Barnes & Noble.
One of the coolest things about CampusBooks is that you’re not limited to just buying textbooks. If you want to pay less, you also have the option of just renting the textbook for the semester. Alternatively, if you choose to buy textbooks, you can use CampusBooks to find sites that will buy back your textbook (thereby lowering your costs).
Though Amazon is known for its wide selection of online shopping options, it originally started as an online book store. Chances are, if you need a book for a class, you can find it listed on Amazon.
The best part is that you don’t need to buy brand new textbooks when you shop through Amazon. Though having an untouched textbook to study from is nice, a slightly used textbook can often get the job done just as well. Amazon knows this and offers textbooks is all sorts of conditions (at a discount).
Chegg is an education technology company that provides both digital and physical textbook rental services, in addition to other student services.
When it comes to finding affordable textbooks online, there are few services that can beat Chegg. You can rent textbooks or buy them, and Chegg will offer you a 21-day refund guarantee. Additionally, Chegg also has a collection of over 400,000 Ebooks that you can rent for just $6.99 a month.
You can even download a Chegg eReader app to store your textbooks on your phone for easier access.
If you’re looking for a rare textbook or want to identify the lowest price point for a textbook, consider using BookFinder.
BookFinder works like a search engine and scours hundreds of thousands of booksellers worldwide. All you need to do is enter the name, author, or ISBN number of the book you’re looking for and BookFinder will get to work searching for the best deals on the book.
Depending on which sellers BookFinder identifies, you could save big by purchasing used textbooks. In some cases, you BookFinder has produced deals that are 80% off the market price of textbooks.
ValoreBooks boasts that “the average student saves about $500 per year when buying or renting all of their required books” from their marketplace.
If you’re looking for solid prices of textbooks online, ValoreBooks provides a good searching platform. In addition to the option of buying or renting textbooks, ValoreBooks also lets you sell your books back to them to earn back some of your cash.
Unlike certain other websites that offer textbooks online, Affordabook focuses on searching ten websites for deals. You just need to enter the book title or author that you’re looking for and Affordabook will provide options for buying and renting.
If you decide to take it a step further and sign up for an account with Affordabook, you gain access to even more perks. For example, you can set up your search preferences, receive newsletters, and build a watchlist for books so that you’re notified when a book drops to a price you’re willing to pay.
Additionally, you can also list your own books on Affordabook if you’re looking to make a little extra cash.
Textbooks.com works similarly to the other sites on this list, but is still a worthy place where you can potentially find great deals on textbooks online.
One cool thing about Textbooks.com is that after you search for your book, you can review the price of options as well as the conditions of books side by side.
Currently, Textbooks.com is offering free shipping on all order over $25. When you factor in the discounts and the free shipping, it’s possible to save up to 70% on textbook purchases! The site also offers digital textbooks which can potentially allow you to save even more money as you forgo the shipping costs entirely.
Abebooks is an e-commerce website that focuses on fine art, collectables, and books in over 50 different countries. AbeBooks specifically focuses on rare and out-of-print books that you might not be able to find elsewhere.
If you have a very specific textbook that you need to get but you can find it online anywhere else, consider searching AbeBooks for it. All textbooks come with a 30-day return policy so if you’re not satisfied with your purchase, you have time to return your book.
Like other websites, you also have the option to sell any books you have. Additionally if you have any antique maps, comic books, or collectibles, you can list them on AbeBooks and someone will likely put in an offer.
The Best Places to Get Textbooks Online
When it comes to college costs, one of the best ways to cut down on expenses is to save on textbooks. In addition to scouring free textbook websites to locate your needed books, you can also search for textbooks online from any one of the listed sites and try to find a deal on your books.
Gone are the days of going to campus bookstores for books you need. Each one of the sites in this list could help you save tons of money when it comes to textbooks. By trying to find textbooks online, you can potentially cut down your college costs by hundreds if not thousands of dollars per year.
Jeff is a Harvard 2025 student passionate about making smart financial decisions both in school and in the workplace so that he can spend more time doing what he loves (like playing golf, spending time with family, and travelling). He has experience working in the financial industry and enjoys sharing all things personal finance, academic, and golf-related. Outside of blogging, he loves to cook, read, and golf in his spare time.