Slash textbook costs by up to 97%

@Money August 30, 2011: 5:18 PM ET
Finding cheap textbooks

(MONEY Magazine) -- Some tips on how you or your child can save up to 97% on a typical college textbook.

Book: "Campbell Biology "

BUY NEW (AND SELL LATER)

Price: $196.35

Resale price: $54

Net cost: $142.35

Where to buy and sell: College bookstore

Take note: Buy-back prices shift often, based on seasonal supply and demand. Stores pay up to 50% of list price for the first texts repurchased at semester

BUY USED

Price: $147.39

Resale price: $54

Net cost: $93.39

Where to buy and sell: College bookstore

Take note: Resale price can be the same as a newer copy's, but book must be near-pristine. Is the text not on next year's syllabus? You may be offered only 10% of the price.

E-BOOK

Net cost: $81.10 (for 360 days)

Where to buy: CourseSmart.com for preset time periods, or Amazon.com, which lets you pick subscription length

Take note: E-textbooks often limit printing and saving annotations.

RENT

Net cost: $77.14 (for 125 days)

Where to rent: Online companies such as BookRenter.com and some college stores

Take note: Rates rise in the busy season. So rent in early August, not the first week of classes.

BUY NEW ONLINE

Price: $150.53

Resale price: $111.10

Net cost: $39.43

Where to buy: Amazon.com

Where to sell: BookRenter.com

Take note: Beware of what sound like incredible deals. They may be study guides or instructors' manuals.

Send The Help Desk your questions about saving for college.

BUY USED ONLINE

Price: $118

Resale price: $111.10

Net cost: $6.90

Where to buy and sell: Search for buyers, sellers, and coupons with DirectTextbook.com.

Take note: If a text you ship for resale isn't up to a buyer's posted standards, the firm will reject it.

*Prices are actual quotes for one of the U.S.'s best selling textbooks, "Campbell Biology" (Ninth Edition), on July 13, 2011.  To top of page

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