Monday Monday: Getting Deals on UC Davis Textbooks
Happy Money Monday! If you’re a UC Davis student and you want to save money on textbooks for fall, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve written before about how to get deals on UC Davis textbooks. This year you have even more options.
In 2012 Governor Gerry Brown signed a law to give California students free digital textbooks. UC Davis students can find the free digital textbooks here.
You could also save up to 80% on your textbooks by renting them with Amazon.
One of our favorite advice sources, CollegeInfoGeek, has The Comprehensive Guide to Finding the Cheapest Textbooks. (Stop what you’re doing now and go to that link.) Here are some great tips:
Know Your Textbook Buying Options
In a publishing company CEO’s perfect dream world, you’d walk into your university bookstore and buy a brand new copy of every textbook you need each semester.
Luckily we don’t live in that dream world, and you’ve got a good number of options for buying your books. At a glance:
Electronic rentals (these are like the Megazords of textbooks!)
For any given textbook, the lowest-priced option could be any one of these. Maybe your textbook is kinda old, and you can find it used on Amazon for $0.01. Or maybe it’s one of those horrible books that come with an access code, forcing you to buy it new. (Dear professors: we don’t like paying for these)
Either way, there are a ton of different places online where you can find your books – so don’t just rely on your campus bookstore. Here’s a good-sized list:
Chegg – if you’d like to support College Info Geek, you can use this one (or Amazon) and I’ll earn a small commission – though you’ll pay no extra. However, please read the rest of the guide first – if you can get a better price elsewhere, I highly recommend doing so!
Use a Price Comparison Tool
Of course, if you spent all your time looking through every textbook store and site in the world, you’d have skipped the first half of the semester by the time you found your perfect price. You’ve only got so many hours in a day.
Luckily, the heavy lifting has already been done for you by price comparison tools like StudentRate Textbooks.
These tools are basically just like Kayak for textbooks; they aggregate book prices from all the major sellers, give you options for buying new/used, renting, or getting e-book versions, and even calculate shipping rates.
When you’re comparing the prices of different stores and book formats, however, keep two very important facts in mind:
Price comparison tools don’t track every possible store and channel you can get books through. Some that I’ll mention below, like student-to-student book exchanges, naturally can’t be tracked easily by a system.
If you’re willing to do the work, selling your books when you’re done with them can save you money in the long run. In this situation, a rental or e-book version might end up being more expensive than a print edition with an initially higher sticker price.
If you’re looking for more tips on textbook savings, last year, Lifehacker.com wrote The Complete Guide to Saving Money on Textbooks (definitely worth a read).