Textbook Shopping and Selling Hacks Every Student Should Know

Textbook shopping: it’s the most wonderful time of the year for college students after Christmas. And by the most wonderful time of the year, I mean stressful time of the year. Everyone knows that college students don’t have a ton of cash, and buying books can really break the bank. I like to think of myself as a savvy shopper, so I have picked up a few tricks that I am sharing today to help you save a lot of cash when buying books for school. Happy shopping!

  1. Make a spreadsheet- Spreadsheets are the easiest way to see all of the books you need and the retailers you are considering buying from. I can compare prices from website to website and can decide if I should buy or rent a book.
  2. List all the books you’ll need and some book buying sites- When listing the book, make sure to include the ISBN number. Textbook editions change, so your professor may or may not require you to have the most current edition of a book. Every edition of a book has a different ISBN number so make sure you have the correct one! If you can get away with having a previous edition, grab it while you can! Older edition books are usually cheaper. New versus used and buying versus renting can make a huge difference in price, so pay attention!
  3. Use a book comparison site– There are many price comparison websites for books available. I like to use Bookscouter because you can search for a book with their buy, rent, or sell search bar. Bookscouter doesn’t list every book site I like to use, but it hits a lot of sites and their marketplaces.
  4. Don’t buy from just one place- I will admit that when I needed to buy an extra book or two during the fall semester of my freshman year, I went straight to Chegg. Sure, Chegg is great, but I probably paid more than I should have for a textbook I rented. There are so many websites that sell textbooks besides Chegg and Amazon. I discovered eCampus and Textbooks.com, which I used to buy many books for this fall and I saved over $300!
  5. Search for off-line options- Some schools have textbook buying groups on Facebook where you can buy books from classmates. I have bought a few books from a friend of mine because I’m taking a class she has previously taken, so she is able to get rid of the books, and I don’t have to pay for shipping!
  6. Do some good for charity (or for yourself!) when shopping for books- If you’re shopping with Amazon, I highly recommend shopping on the AmazonSmile site, rather than the normal site. Every time you place an order on AmazonSmile, Amazon donates 0.05% of your order total to the charity of your choice! On other sites, you can use Ebates to earn cash back on tons of purchases, including textbooks! If you click the link below, you can use my referral link to join Ebates. Just a heads up: if you choose to use the link below, I will earn $5 for every referral who joins with my link. If you don’t want to use the link, that’s cool too!

Alexandra’s Ebates Referral Link

Here’s how I set up my book spreadsheet!

Now that I’ve covered the buying part, let’s get to the selling books part. Lots of sites that sell books also buy books back, like Chegg, eCampus, Textbooks.com, and Amazon. Read on for a few book buyback hacks.

  1. Use a book comparison site (again)- Like I mentioned above, use a book comparison site like Bookscouter. After you type in the ISBN number, the site will search through their partner sites to find the highest buyback price for you. Again, it doesn’t search every website so you may need to go to the site you’re interested in selling to for their buyback prices.
  2. Read the fine print- Not all buyback programs are equal, so make sure you read the fine print and details. Make sure the program provides you with a pre-paid shipping label. Some programs require that you meet a minimum quote price before they will buyback your books. For example, eCampus has a $5 minimum and Textbooks.com has a $10 minimum. Amazon and Chegg have no minimum quote. Payment is also an important thing to pay attention to when selling books. Amazon only pays in gift cards, but many other sites will pay you in a check, PayPal, or store credit. Make sure you are getting paid the way you want to be paid.

There you have it! I hope these tips are helpful for you as you embark on your book buying adventure! Are there any tips I missed? Let me know in the comments! Thanks for stopping by!

Workin’ Day and Night (It Certainly Seemed Like It…) – Life Update

Hello again, friends! It’s been about a month since my last post, so I thought I’d give you all some updates about what I’ve been up to this summer! I was hoping to get some more posts out this summer, but I have not had a chance to write up what I’d like to share over the last several weeks. I’ll try to share a post or two before I return back to campus in late August.

The biggest thing I have done this summer is work! I am working at the pool I have worked at for the past 4 years again, and I scored an internship! The internship has nothing to do with what I want to do with my life (becoming a Special Education teacher) but it has given me so much experience in working for a non-profit asociation; reaching out to members; writing; and creating various PowerPoints for a number of meetings and events. I’ve learned a bunch of medical terminology and training procedures, as well as more about the fields of gastroenterology and hepatology.

Besides working all the time, I have been working on scholarship applications. My Dad has been unemployed for over a year now, and applying for scholarships is my way of helping ease the financial burden on my parents. The topics have been all over the place! I wrote an essay on how computer viruses impact the economy; what type of ice cream flavor I picture myself to be; and I even made a video on how I save money as a college student. The essays have been fun to write, and I’m hoping that I win a scholarship or two after all that writing.

Afternoons at the pool can be slow some days, so I have been slowly choreographing a dance to perform at Small Show this fall for PAC. My style of choreographing is pretty strange, but everyone has their own creative process. I always sit and listen to the music, and then I choreograph the movements while sitting down. One would think that sitting down and choreographing would be silly, but I find it works. I’m about three quarters of the way finished with the dance now, and I hope to finish it before the end of the summer. I don’t want to give anything away about it, but if it is selected as one of the dances for Small Show, I’ll be sure to share a video!

I will admit, I’ve done some shopping over my summer break. I like to shop! Is that such a terrible thing? I got myself a few goodies from Tarte, a new backpack and planner from Vera Bradley (which I got for 50% off each!! WHOO HOO!!) and a new backup portable hard drive from Amazon Prime Day. There is plenty more shopping to do as soon as textbook lists are available and as move-in day get closer.

At the end of June and the middle of July, I got to speak at a College Night for rising college freshmen that was hosted by the Associates of St. John Bosco. The College Night was geared towards students who want to remain active in their Catholic faith during their college years. I attended a night last summer and I was invited to speak at two of the nights this summer! I hope to have a blog post posted soon about the topic I spoke on: how to be confident in your faith at college. Stay tuned for that!

Finally, I’m getting my wisdom teeth taken out on August 1. I’m not looking forward to the whole procedure, but I am excited about all the ice cream, applesauce, and mac n cheese I get to eat afterwards! Please pray that the procedure goes well!

Well folks, that’s what’s going on in my neck of the woods. I hope everyone is having a great summer! What have you been up to during June and July? Let me know in the comments!

Thanks for stopping by to read! God bless! 🙂