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Nov 25, 2019 03:05 PM EST

Why Do College Textbooks Cost So Much and How Can You Save on Them?

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Why Do College Textbooks Cost So Much and How Can You Save on Them?

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After paying for tuition, room and board, and other school expenses, it's totally normal to look at your class list and ask, "Why do college textbooks cost so much?"

Unfortunately, college textbooks are not usually cheap. Buying them brand new from the bookstore means paying a premium price, and if the professor wrote the textbook, expect to pay at least $100. (Trust us, this happens a lot.)

Here's why they cost so much, and how to save money on college textbooks.

Why Do College Textbooks Cost So Much?

Short answer: because they can, that's why. Colleges, especially private ones, are in the business of making money for the school. It's no secret that college tuition continues to rise (another 1.9 percent from 2017 to 2018), and part of the problem is paying for textbooks.

Many professors hand-select the textbook for their course, then tell the campus bookstore which books they need to stock their shelves with. Or, they write the thing, then sell it to the bookstore. In either instance, you're going to end up paying for a marked-up book.

Fortunately, though, there are ways to make buying textbooks can be a lot cheaper.

Buy Used

Websites like Chegg and Amazon's Used Textbooks are awesome resources for college students on a budget. Not only can you buy used textbooks at a fraction of the price of what it would cost new, you can also sell your textbooks to Amazon after the semester is over.

Whether you put that money aside for next semester's book or spend it, you're still saving a ton of money.

Buy E-Books

Some professors don't reveal this to their class until it's too late. But many college textbooks are available as e-books and can be downloaded right to your Kindle, iPhone, or tablet. Like most e-books, you'll pay somewhere between 50 and 70 percent of the full-price hardcover book.

Look on the same websites for e-book versions, or google the title of your textbook with e-book at the end. Like this: "Ways of the World online textbook" or "Ways of the World textbook e-book".

Share Books With Classmates

 Perhaps the professor doesn't allow e-books or it's not available used. There will be some instances where you simply have to buy the textbook.

If you're on a budget, ask other classmates to split the cost of the book. You'll have to plan logistics with it throughout the semester (i.e. who gets the book when a test is coming, or when can you two sit down to study together), but you'll only pay half the cost.

Use the Library

Last but not least, check with your campus library. Often times they'll have the '101' classes textbooks in-house. You might not be able to rent them, but you can use them as much as you want in the library.

Hey, it never hurts to ask.

Buying Textbooks: Wrap Up

More and more, college prices are rising. If you're wondering why do college textbooks cost so much, you aren't the only one. But buying used or digital versions or sharing your books can save you a lot of money each semester.

Click here to read more college advice and tips.

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