For New Jersey residents and back-to-college students across the nation, college and continuing education are significant, career investments. It’s a wise, financial investment as surveys by the Pew Research Center and data reported by the US Census Bureau in 2010 show the median gap in annual earnings between a high school and college graduate is approximately $19,550. It’s also a smart, financial move to be strategic about saving money on college expenses, especially in light of tuition costs reaching for the sky. Textbooks are a major expense, so it’s savvy and significant to save on book purchases for college courses.
Buying new textbooks at the college bookstore isn’t likely to result in savings, unless your college offers an inexpensive, used text section. But, good alternatives to the traditional, college book store exist online. Using an online, textbook search service that finds the best prices and best online vendors can reap big savings on textbook costs.
SwoopThat is a free, online service that offers new, used, ebook, and even rental options for college book purchases. SwoopThat’s platform searches through user-indicated college and course names. More than 1,200 schools, nationwide, are in SwoopThat’s database. Purchasers enter their school and their course enrollments, and SwoopThat moves into action. SwoopThat searches and returns the best online deals for textbooks assigned in listed courses. If SwoopThat’s search engine doesn’t find a book, SwoopThat still can assist in finding materials if the user supplies an ISBN number.
And, for further savings, SwoopBack offers the opportunity to sell back textbooks to online vendors through its buyback platform. If you want to start saving early, some high school textbooks, especially those used in AP courses, are available through SwoopThat.
Watch a video online for a visual walk-through the simple, SwoopThat process.
Campusbooks is a free, online search service. It searches the Internet for requested textbooks to find the best prices on discounted new and used textbooks and offers a rental service. The buyer at Campusbooks enters the ISBN, title, and/or author of the desired textbook to initiate a search. Campusbooks also offers a school, department, and course name search option. Additionally, Campusbooks offers a sell back service. The seller puts in book information, and Campusbooks searches for an online vendor interested in buying back that specific book.
Campusbook offers a Help Center with FAQS that answer the common questions of new buyers and sellers.
To maximize your savings, try these money-saving tips:
- Know the price of your books in your campus bookstore, both its new and used divisions. Comparison shop, especially on new or difficult-to-find books.
- Tally in the cost of shipping for online purchases when making comparisons, especially when comparing the costs of used books.
- Compare your course book list to the online service’s book list. Your professor may have made a last minute change or addition.
- Be willing to use a used textbook in good condition, especially for an elective course. You may want to keep books from courses in your major.
- Start your online search as early as possible. That allows for shipping time and accesses you to the best inventory. SwoopThat indicates August is a very busy time.
- If you won’t be interested in keeping a highly priced textbook, consider renting instead, especially if upfront costs are an issue.
Chegg is an available rental service that sells textbooks, new and used. Additionally, Chegg offers a 21 day “any reason” guarantee. That can come in handy on a course you drop.
CourseSmart is a service that specializes in eTextbooks and digital course materials. CourseSmart partners directly with the specialized, eTextbook publishers in higher education.
Spend less, save more
The Government Accountability Office indicates data shows, on average, students spend $900 per year on textbooks, and textbook prices have been rising at twice the rate of inflation over the last two decades. Even though a college degree brings later advantages, its present, real time costs can be daunting. Saving a significant percentage on the costs of expensive college textbooks helps to make overall, college costs easier on family finances for New Jersey families and parents throughout the nation.