Paying For College: How to Buy Textbooks the Smart Way

By Emily Kastor

College students often complain about how expensive their education is — they go on and on for hours about all the different bills they have to pay with all the money they do not have. High on every college student’s “complaint list” is textbooks. Every semester, students talk about how stressful buying textbooks for their classes is, due to how extremely and unnecessarily overpriced most university bookstores are. After paying thousands upon thousands of dollars just to attend school, why are universities forcing their students to buy textbooks for hundreds of dollars per book, especially when most of the time students need these textbooks to do well in their classes?

The good news is that now there are ways to bypass the university bookstore and get textbooks for a cheap and reasonable price. A variety of different websites provide students the opportunity to get textbooks for cheaper. is a fairly well known website for getting brand name products significantly cheaper than you would at the brand’s store, and the same is true for textbooks. While it is true that not all textbooks are available online, many of the more expensive, general textbooks (such as math, physics, chemistry etc.) can be found on websites like Amazon. But, even Amazon sometimes can get a little pricey, so if that’s the case then you can also use Thriftbooks is exactly what it sounds like, a website where one can find and buy, for extremely cheap, over seven million books and authors, including textbooks! Plus, on Thriftbooks, most, if not all, of their textbooks are under $30, which is a serious bargain. Another awesome thing about Thriftbooks is that once you exceed $10 on your order, shipping is free and last time I checked, college students are all about that ‘free life.’

Next time some college student says “I am going to be crying myself to sleep tonight thinking about the $500 I am going to be spending on my textbooks tomorrow,” you can tell them that his/her despair is unnecessary because there are ways to get textbooks for an affordable price. is one way to get your textbooks for significantly less than at the university’s bookstore, but if you’re looking to get textbooks for pennies on the dollar, definitely check out and then be sure to recommend them to your other broke college friends as well.