University of Virginia

Save Money on Your Textbooks

If you don’t have your textbooks for this upcoming semester, you still have time to get them and save money too. Here is the short version of how to do just that:

First, get the ISBNs of the books you need. How do you do that? You should have that information from registration, but if you don’t, call the student bookstore at your school and ask them what the books are for your classes, ask the ISBNs and how much the bookstore charges. (The author and title are not always enough information to be sure you get the correct editions.)

Second, go to the aggregator site SlugBooks and enter the ISBN of the books you are looking for. You’ll get a display of different options for buying new and used and renting. (The primary sites for textbooks are going to be and Amazon.)

Amazon is also a good choice, and if you don’t have an account, you can sign up for Amazon Prime Student using your college email and you can get free two-day shipping for six months. You won’t believe how convenient that will be, not just for these books but for any of the items Amazon sells.

Third, with this pricing information in hand, decide whether you want to:

1. Buy new from the bookstore (bad idea).

2. Buy new or used (much better) and then trade them in at the end of the semester (fantastic idea).

3. Rent from a site like Chegg or Amazon (even better).

Fourth, show your parents how much money you can save. They’ll appreciate your can-do attitude!


For more reading on our last-minute checklist and some dorm essentials, click here.