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Smart Ways to Save Money on College Textbooks

Smart Ways to Save Money on College Textbooks

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

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Tracy Davidson, NBC NewschannelThe College Board estimates students spend about $940 a year on books and supplies. Not a pleasant thought for students or parents. But there are ways to get the same books at a discount.

Ask any college student and they'll tell you the cost of books take a big bite out of their budgets.

Rutgers student Gabrielle Alioni says "they are really expensive for you to use them for 3 or 4 months. That's where 75% of my money goes."

This Rutgers study group is all using the same biology book, but they paid very different prices. Knowing where to shop can make the difference.

Rutgers student Dominique Helms says "my first semester I paid like $600 for my books, and my second I paid like $180."

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So how can you save?

For starters, the campus bookstores always have a huge selection of used books. Just make sure you get the right book and check to see if edition matters.

The National Association of College Stores says know the store's refund policy and save your receipts in case you drop a course or you want to make a return. And before buying a bundle, like a book with a software package, make sure you need both.

And all the students we talked with insist, need textbooks? Check online.

Dominique Helms says "if you go to you can look all the books up that you need used. And they'll tell you the quality then you'll place your order."

Actually, there are a lot of cheap sites where you can comparison shop. On many, like, you plug in the ISBN or the author and the title and it'll do the comparisons for you so you can see where the lowest prices are.

Also online, you'll find sites that let you rent a book for the semester and still other sites where students buy and sell their textbooks to each other.

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