Cost of College: Saving money on textbooks

Posted at 5:49 AM, Aug 29, 2018

The cost of tuition may be the biggest pinch for college students.Then there’s another doozy. Textbooks can average more than $200 per book.

Textbook costs have risen over 800 percent over the past 40 years. These textbooks can cost more than $2,000 a year. In fact, individual college books often cost anywhere from $50 to $300 each.

Some Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi students may actually spend less this back-to-school season thanks to programs aimed at curbing the cost of textbooks.

“Here at the bookstore on campus, we strive to offer students the most affordable options out there on the market. Other than our rental program is our digital access codes that are available through Yuzu, and we also have our LoudCloud which is powered by open educational resources also known as ‘OER.’ That is a great option to help give students more affordability for textbooks,” said Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi Barnes and Noble store manager Olivia Santos.

Many students are trying to make ends meet and successfully make it through college while finding ways to save on college textbooks.

“One new initiative that the bookstores have is called our “price match program”. If a student finds a better price at Amazon, we are able to price match it as long as it is billed and shipped by Amazon.

“We also offer that with and in the bookstore that’s off-campus as well,”she said.

There are now more ways than ever to get those books for less. You can sell used textbooks on The website claims it can help you save up to 90 percent on textbooks by renting them.

For example, a biology textbook sells for $85, but you can rent it for $26.99.

“I am going on right now, and I am actually comparing prices with what they are in store here and what they are online to get the better deal for myself,” TAMU-CC incoming freshman Jacqueline Hawkins said.

Another way to save money is to coordinate with classmates. Buy a textbook and split it so you don’t have to pay as much and you can share it.

Overpaying for college textbooks is a rite of passage for students. But the good news is that it is getting easier to avoid.

Another platform for inexpensive textbooks is Bookbyte. Their website includes a cheat sheet for buying books as cheaply as possible.

Bookbytes’ tips include buying a previous edition of a textbook; you can also sell used books through their site.

Amazon is another option. Textbooks can be downloaded to a Kindle device.

Technology can work for students. Price-comparison apps like Shopsavvy  and Honey can help you find the best deal and even get money back.

Some of the cost-cutting tips appear to be working.

During the 2016-17 academic year, students spent an average of $579 on 10 required class materials (typically textbooks), according to the National Association of College Stores’ latest Student Watch survey.

That was based on data from 90 two- and four-year colleges in the U.S. and Canada. That spending is down $23 from the previous year, and $122 less than in 2007-08, according to the survey.