Vendors alleviate textbook financial woes

by Victoria Valenzuela

At the beginning of every semester, college students everywhere burst into tears at the sight of their bank accounts quickly draining to dismally low amounts. It begins in the bookstore, where students crowd the aisles like sardines in a tin can, scanning the shelves for the best deals. More often than not, they’re forced to purchase the most expensive options, bringing their total at the register to hundreds of dollars.

When it’s time to stock up for everything needed for classes, the toughest decision to make is where to get the best bang for your buck. If the campus bookstore stretches your budget a little too thin, check out these alternatives that will satisfy your wallet.


If you like the idea of buying textbooks from your fellow classmates but don’t want to navigate questionable Craigslist postings, SDTexty is the perfect solution. This website, specifically created for San Diego State, allows for the buying, trading and selling of textbooks. All you need to do is set up an account with the school Rohan email address found on your SDSU WebPortal. Students can search by book title, author name or by subject.  Each listing describes which class the book is used for, resulting in hassle-free navigation of the site.  At the end of the semester, post your textbooks on SDTexty instead of selling them back to the bookstore. This means more profit without having to settle for buyback chump change.

KB Books

Just a hop, skip and a jump away from campus on College Avenue sits a mecca of great textbook deals. Before you take a look inside the store, use its website to compare prices on textbooks from any specific department and class. Students can also weigh KB Books’ rates against other online textbook providers. KB Books provides even more savings with its Student Organization Rebate Program. Members of participating student organizations from SDSU, San Diego Mesa College and San Diego City College are given a 5 percent rebate on textbook purchases through the program.

A top textbook rental provider, Chegg has great deals with a 21-day satisfaction guarantee. Be sure to save that bright orange box that your books come in, as it can be used to ship your items back for free using a printable UPS label.  E-textbooks are also available for rent, with various rental term options. Chegg also flexes its green thumbs as a part of its popular business model by planting a tree for every book that is rented or sold. To date, the number of planted trees has reached more than five million. What could be better than saving a bucket of cash and helping the environment at the same time?

This popular website claims to save students 80 percent on textbooks with free shipping both ways. While it’s a common practice to retain the pristine condition of rental books, CampusBookRentals permits marking and highlighting of books as if they were your own. As if the deal couldn’t get any sweeter, if the rental periods don’t exactly allow for the amount of time you need, you’re able to select your own return date. When you’re done, simply drop your books in the mail using the provided prepaid envelope and label.  Can’t get to the mail in time? No problem. You’re covered by a 15-day grace period for returning your book.

This website takes the cake, promising savings up to 90 percent on textbooks that it says will save students $500 a year. A service that’s a one-stop shop for all textbook needs, ValoreBooks provides price comparisons across countless sites on the Web. Free shipping is included with rentals. Selling books back couldn’t be easier—the site gives a dollar amount for how much it will buy a particular item. ValoreBooks makes the buyback process even more profitable by partnering with SmarterBucks, a rewards program that helps cut student loan debt by offering students rewards through online purchases. Signing up for a free account starts students off with $5 in SmarterBucks, getting them on the right track to paying less money in loans after graduation.

No matter what method you choose, remember the three cardinal rules of purchasing textbooks: Rent, Reuse and Recycle. First, rent the book instead of buying it—this eliminates having to try and sell it back at the end of the semester. Second, if you must buy the book, buy it used.  Try to scope out the used books early, as those are usually the first to go since they’re typically the cheapest. Third, swap books from people in your classes or major. You might be able to get away with not spending any money in the first place. After all, no word sounds sweeter to a college student’s ears than “free.”

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