Best Sites to Buy College Textbooks for 2021

It's no secret that textbooks are expensive, but these websites make it easy to find deals on new and used textbooks.
Allan T
14
min read
Sep 21, 2021

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Tuition, accommodation, and food are the biggest expenses in University but textbooks can cost a student as much as $1,200 a year as well. Textbooks have been getting more and more expensive every year and brand new ones can cost over $200. If you're a science major, then some textbooks can cost as much as $500! If you buy books from a bookstore, the prices can be incredibly high, but there are a lot of websites that offer books for much cheaper. Having a little extra money is always a good thing right? 


In this article, you will learn about the pros and cons of buying new versus used textbooks, as well as get a list of some of the best sites to buy college textbooks. 

Choose New or Used Textbooks?

How do you make the decision to buy new vs used textbooks? Let's go over the pros and cons of both options to help you figure it out!


These are the pros of buying new textbooks.
  • The biggest benefit of buying a new textbook is that it comes with absolutely no marks which allows you to highlight only the information you want 
  • New textbooks are easily available at bookstores and online
  • If your professor has assigned the newest edition of a textbook because it has important information then you have to buy a new textbook
  • Buying a new textbook gives you access codes for online learning materials 


There is only one major con to buying new textbooks, but it’s a big one.
  • New textbooks are incredibly expensive


There are two main pros of buying used textbooks But they are really important!
  • Used textbooks are much cheaper than new textbooks
  • Used textbooks are previously highlighted so you can see important information easily

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You can definitely save a lot of money buying used textbooks but there are some things that you have to watch out for.

These are some of the cons.
  • Sometimes textbooks come with access codes that let you get online materials. These codes are usually valid only for one use, so buying a used textbook means you won't get that access code 
  • Used textbooks might be pretty worn out, but most websites have a no-questions-asked return policy
  • It might be tough to find some used textbooks especially if they are older

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The Best Places to Buy College Textbooks

These are the best websites that answer where to buy cheap college textbooks? 

eCampus.com

ECampus’ tagline is easy, fast, cheap, and they deliver on that promise. One of the earliest online textbook retailers, they give you the option to buy, sell, and rent new and used textbooks. They provide free shipping for orders over $35 and accept returns with no questions asked within 25 days. They claim to have the largest selection of used inventory so you might be able to find used textbooks here that you cannot find in other places. Unlike many other websites, eCampus has a rewards program, so using them regularly leads to bigger savings in the future.  They also have a marketplace that allows you to buy directly from a seller and a $5 discount on your first order.

BiggerBooks

With the number of books you are likely to need in college, expenses are inevitable. That's why services that enable you to get maximum value out of a very tight budget are so great. Biggerbooks is one of such services. It will help you find the books you need for the most appealing price by scouring the web for you. They might not be in prime condition. But they will do the job well enough. And it will help you save quite a bit of money. Additionally, you can use this service to find some pretty interesting specimens that have long got out of print.  So if your work involves interaction with physical textbooks - you should definitely bookmark this website. It will absolutely come in handy.

Chegg

Chegg is one of the best sites to buy college textbooks. It has a huge selection of both new and old textbooks and offers discounts of up to 90%. You can buy used or new books as well as rent textbooks on the website. One of the unique features of Chegg is a free 1 month trial for Chegg Study, their online tutoring service when you place your first order. Chegg offers various discounts and coupons for delivery and has a 21-day return policy. One of the best things about Chegg is that they give you a free ebook version of the textbook you've ordered while you wait for it to be delivered.

CampusBooks.com

Campus Books has been helping students save money on textbooks since 1999 (before some of you were born!). They compare prices across various websites to give you the best possible deal. They also have a tool that helps you decide whether it's more cost-effective to buy or rent a textbook. A unique feature they have is that they scan local libraries to see if you can borrow a book for free. They display prices including shipping, discounts, and other promotions so you don't have to do any math. They also have their own specific promo codes so you get additional savings by using their website. Once you're done with your textbook Campus Books Is also a good place to sell them.

Amazon

Amazon is a household name now and everybody has used it to buy everything from groceries to vintage baseball cards. Amazon started as an online bookstore, so it's no surprise that they have a huge collection of new and used textbooks. You get all the usual benefits of Amazon, especially if you have Amazon Prime or Amazon Student. Amazon Prime shipping will get you a textbook within two days which is faster than most other websites. You can buy old and new textbooks, rent them, buy ebooks, and sell your used textbooks as well. 

BooksRun

BooksRun is a college textbook buying and selling website with a strong focus on eco-friendliness. They are one of the largest providers of e-textbooks and pride themselves on selling used textbooks so that less paper is wasted. They also have a loyalty program where points earned can go towards buying eco-friendly products or donations to plant trees. One of the best things about BooksRun is that they offer free shipping with absolutely no minimum spending requirement. This makes it the best place to buy textbooks for college if you need to buy a book under $30 (usually the minimum amount for free delivery on other websites). 

Barnes And Noble

Barnes & Noble has been selling books for decades now. Though you might not be able to find a wide selection of textbooks in their stores, their website basically has every textbook imaginable. Not only can you find any new textbook you might need, but they also have a huge inventory of used textbooks. They guarantee high-quality used books and have a 30-day return policy if you are dissatisfied for any reason. They also have discounts and different promotions on their website as well as a Barnes & Noble loyalty program. If you need access codes or supplementary materials, then Barnes & Noble is always going to be a safe bet. They may be one of the best companies when it comes to buying new books as they claim to provide up to 30% off the sticker price. 

Cheapesttextbooks.com

Cheapesttextbooks is a price comparison page that scans over a thousand retail options to give you the best price for new or used textbooks to buy or rent. They also have a tool that helps you determine whether it makes more sense to buy or rent a book. They show you the prices of shipping for each option as well as any coupons and discount codes that might be applicable. As an aggregator, they don't ship things themselves or have any inventory so they can focus purely on getting you the best possible deals. 

Valore Books

Valorebooks is another website that compares prices across various different retailers to get you the best deal. They are one of the few textbook selling companies that have a dedicated customer service department that is always around to help you. You can buy, sell, and rent old and new textbooks with a 30-day return policy. They don't provide free shipping, with every item costing $3.95 to ship, but the savings they provide often make up for this small shipping cost. They have one of the best collections of older textbooks, so you can often save money by finding previous editions on their website. 

BigWords

BigWords describes itself as a textbook search engine. Like many other websites on this list, it scans the internet to find the best deal for your textbook. You can buy or rent new and used textbooks on their site. One of their unique features is their app which has received attention from companies like Mashable. You can also set up alerts that inform you when prices for books you have selected drop. They also scan the internet for different promotion codes, discounts, offers, and free shipping options to give you the cheapest overall possibilities. 

AbeBooks

AbeBooks does not specialize in selling textbooks but has one of the most impressive collections on the internet. They started as a book reseller and now you can find things like antiques and rare books on their website as well as textbooks. Apart from large retailers, they partner with small, local booksellers so you can often find really good deals on their website.  They are probably the best at finding International editions or Teacher's Editions of textbooks,  which are often much cheaper. AbeBooks is always a good place to check because sometimes smaller retailers will provide free shipping. 

Tips for Using the Best Sites to Buy College Textbooks

Here are some useful tips when trying to find the best place to buy college textbooks.

Use ISBN numbers

The ISBN number of a book is a unique number that identifies it. If you need a particular edition of a specific book then searching by its ISBN number will guarantee that you get the right book.

Check supplementary materials

When buying used books, carefully check if the seller provides supplementary materials like worksheets, CDs, Etc. Sometimes they aren't needed though, so check with your professor to see if you can make do without them.

Factor in all the costs

Make sure to calculate shipping fees and any other hidden charges when determining the final price of your book. Also account for discounts and promo codes to find the best deal.

Check multiple websites

Don't just buy the first great deal you see, make sure you check several websites including aggregators.

Read the fine print

Make sure you read the policies of each company regarding returns. If you receive a damaged book or if you drop a class you should have the opportunity to return the book and get your money back.


This article has given you several options where to buy college textbooks cheap as well as some tips to navigate those websites and how to decide between buying new or used textbooks. These are some of the best places to buy college textbooks, so make sure you browse at least a few of them. Once you have your textbook, if you need any help understanding the material or with homework, don't hesitate to reach out to the experts at Studyfy. They have decades of experience helping students with anything they need.