Bust the Myth: Saving Big Money on Textbooks Can Be a Reality

It seems like finding the best deals on textbooks is like chasing a unicorn. You’ve heard there are good deals in some bedtime story your grandparents told you long ago, yet every back-to-school season, you’re left with the real story: a busted budget. We know that textbook shopping can be stressful and expensive. A study from the National Association of College Stores reports that students spent an average of $579 on required course materials during the 2016-2017 academic year. Fairy tale?! More like SCARY TALE, am I right?

We’re here to tell a different story, one with a little more happily-ever-after and a lot less I-can’t-even-afford-ramen!

Here are HPB.com‘s top tips to make any student’s book buying experience a better one this semester:

Shop early or beware. Procrastinate and you’ll just get eaten by the troll under the bridge, so they say. Demand is higher right before the semester starts and everyone is looking for the same book, which makes prices higher. Nab yours early to take advantage of some of the lowest prices — and beat that troll to the punch!

Buy used if it’s within your power. Sometimes you can’t avoid it if your potions professor picked a brand new textbook or newer edition, but a used book will always be cheaper and sometimes filled with some other studious wizard’s helpful notes!

Look for older editions. Rip Van Winkle was purported to say, “Old is the new-new!” He was probably talking about your textbooks. If the updates to newer editions are minimal from year-to-year, an older edition will likely save you some cash.

Guard your pot of gold. While renting may seem appealing, keep in mind you can incur fees if you forget to return the book by the deadline. Plus, you can’t sell back your book for extra coins at the end of the semester. Buying is also good if you plan to study that subject long-term and want to make lots of notes in your book.

In a sea of textbooks, start your search with ISBNs. Sometimes it can feel like finding the right textbook edition is like chasing your tail. But trust us, you can find what you seek. Check that course syllabus for the 13-digit ISBN of your textbook to make sure you’re getting the right book. On HPB.com it is as easy as typing the ISBN in the search bar to find the exact book you need. If you can’t find it, visit com/help to contact our friendly Customer Care team for help finding your way.

Sink your teeth into savings. Yes, it’s convenient to walk in your campus bookstore and grab your books, but the prices might suck every last penny out of you. Do your research and compare prices online. You can save up to 80% on textbooks at HPB.com and save your campus bookstore for the important purchases: game-day T-shirts and bumper stickers!

You can be granted the help you need. Like Aladdin, you’re trapped in a metaphorical cave not able to find your way…of searching for a particular textbook. Or, do you have a problem with your order? If only you had a magic lamp! Make sure the online retailer you shop with has a good customer service promise! HPB.com has beefed up our customer service team for back to school with REAL, LIVE HUMAN-GENIES (ok, not really genies, but humans, yes!). HPB.com’s Customer Care team will get you quick answers over the phone or by email seven days a week. Think of them as your own personal genies, no lamps needed.

Look! It’s a double coupon! Quick – what’s at the end of that rainbow over campus? It’s a pile of coupons! It’s not a myth. You can save a bunch with coupons. You love coupons. You need coupons. BUT, not every book store offers them for textbooks. It’s important to sign up for those email lists. HPB.com offers great discounts that you won’t find from other online book retailers, deep discounts off single items, your entire order or even discounts (off expedited shipping costs) when you get in a bind! Retailers give the best offers to their subscribers. Go sign up now at com/join. We’ll wait while you do that. Some of the best, unreal deals of the year can be found during back-to-school season.

Is delivery by stork an option? You have to check and see! Another reason to shop early is to make sure you get the book in time for the start of class. Top online booksellers like HPB.com will tell you what shipping methods are available for your books so you can choose the one that best suits your needs based on the delivery estimate. If you are in a rush and magic is not an option, make sure your online store has expedited shipping available. HPB.com does on lots of items!

Point your compass to Half Price Books. When the semester is over, you can pocket some cash if your books are still in good shape and in demand. And you won’t have to go trekking across the Pacific Northwest trying to find it. Just bring your textbooks to a local used bookseller (may we suggest one of our  local HPB stores across the country?) and get a competitive cash offer you can put towards your future.