Every semester, pre-meds end up spending a ton of money buying your textbooks. If you’re smart about it though, you have a lot of options to really cut down on your expenses and get the texts you need really cheap. Just because the most recent biology or chemistry editions are the most expensive new books on the market doesn’t mean you need to suffer and pay the highest price. Here are my favorite tips for cheap(er) textbooks. Take a look!
Renting Is the Way to Save
With the growing popularity of textbook rentals through sites like Chegg, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble, the need to purchase anything expensive from your college bookstore is no more. The reasons are pretty clear:
- It’s incredibly cheap and speedy
- Flexible return dates / refund policies
- Made for electronic users — there are plenty of eTextbooks available along with their physical copies!
Sometimes I get asked, “what if I need my college physics / bio / ochem textbooks for medical school? Should I keep them?” The answer is nope, you won’t need them.
As one forum poster on StudentDoctor.net put it, “college textbooks are paperweights in medical school.” You just won’t have time to look through all that material again so there’s no need to keep the books once you’re done with them. Sell them or return them from the rental sites to keep your costs as low as possible.
What Is the Best Place to Rent My Textbooks?
As of right now, Amazon and Chegg.com have the best prices. While Chegg offers faster deliveries and ensures you get an ebook of the physical text you ordered while you’re waiting for the hard copy to arrive, Amazon has a massive database of e-books which works well with Kindle (the app) as well as Kindle readers. You can annotate texts and keep these notes afterwards.
Bottom line: Both programs offer excellent rental services [insert link for Back to School article #2]. If you can’t find your textbook in one, just look in the other.
Why Is Barnes & Noble Not Mentioned?
After looking through their catalog, I realized that many of their prices just don’t compare to what you would see in Chegg or Amazon. I rarely ever hear B&N mentioned by pre-meds and I don’t find any reason to use it when there are plenty of cheaper options out there.
How Do I Make Sure I’m Getting the Cheapest Prices Possible?
Recently, pre-meds have been telling me that textbook search engines have become very useful in comparing prices on the Internet because it saves time. Sites like CheapTextbooks.com and Bigwords.com are really comprehensive and are created to scour the Internet to find the cheapest rental rates or lowest prices on new or used books. If you want more information on alternative places to find the texts you need, check out my article on the topic: “Back to School: What Are the Little-Known Alternative Ways to Get the Textbooks You Need?”
Any Other Ideas? Leave a Comment!
*All of this information is based on what pre-meds have told me and what I have discovered to be incredibly useful. If there are any other websites that offer excellent deals that I missed leave a comment below and I’ll include it here.