Not everyone has the will or inclination to shell out $1,000 a year on hardcover doorstops, so we compiled the top five ways to save on textbooks. Now go return those copies you’ve already purchased from the Stanford Bookstore.
Search for the ISBNs of your textbooks online (try Google Shopping) on sites like eBay and Amazon.com, looking for promotional codes before settling on your shopping cart. Buying books late in the quarter? Sign up for Amazon Student and get free two-day shipping for an entire year. All you need is a dot-edu e-mail address and you’ll have your books before the first p-sets are due.
(2) Chat lists
Actually open those e-mails from your old dorm chat lists regarding textbook sales. Don’t feel bad about offering less than what’s advertised. Most people need to free up space in new rooms and will sell those puppies for far less than sticker value. Freshmen: know your prices before you get suckered.
This Craigslist of Stanford has some deals on books, but it’s best for buying used course readers, not to mention furniture and bikes. If you’re nervous, bring a friend when you meet up with the seller.
Don’t kid yourself: you never use the textbook after the final exam, aside from snooty den décor. Online rental sites like Chegg.com and Ecampus.com are surprisingly respectable, while the Stanford Bookstore rolled out its rent-a-text program this quarter.
(5) Don’t buy them
Mooching off friends may work, but borrowing reserve copies from the library is a bit more sensible. Google Books also has many texts online, save a few missing pages, and is particularly useful for novels and short works.