Buy Used College Text Books

Question: I will start college in the fall and need to know where I can buy the lowest-priced, good quality books. I have to pay for them myself so I am trying to find a cheaper alternative than the campus bookstore. Are there any Web sites I should try?

College books can be a big-ticket expense, and you are wise to look for alternatives to buying them all brand-spankin' new. To assist with your quest, I simply tried typing "Cheap College Texts" and "Used College Texts" into the Google search engine, and was rewarded with many results. These included:

While the sites looked legit to me, I haven't had personal experience with any of them. I have, however, bought used books from on many occasions and have always been pleased. Some of these were biographies, novels, or books about history--so, while none were actual text books, they were all the sorts of topics that might crop up on college reading lists.

If you've never tried Amazon before, just go to the home page ( Search under "Books" for the titles you need and, if you find the book you're looking for, you'll see that there is often an option to buy it used. If you click on that, you can find out how many used copies are available, and the price and condition of each. You complete your transaction online through Amazon, but the book come to you from another independent dealer. I've bought books that way for as little as 86 cents (the postage was four times more!), and each one has always arrived promptly and was just as described.

If there are locally owned used-book shops in your community, they can be a great source of novels and non-fiction. Those in college areas often carry text books, too, though many won't.

Obviously, it would be helpful for you to get your hands on class syllabi as far in advance as possible to see what texts and other books you'll need. You also have to check carefully to make sure you're not buying an out-of-date edition of a text. (Remember, however, that most frosh course selections aren't set in stone until after the fall semester is underway. Don't get stuck with books you won't need.)

Check, too--if you haven't done so already--with college officials to see what sort of used-book sales are offered right on campus. (The Office of Admission can direct you to the right place to call.) Most campus bookstores also offer a "Used Book" section, though some are far more complete than others.

Good luck with your search, and best wishes for a great college career.