How Online Textbooks Save Money

College textbooks cost a lot of money. Today’s students face not only increasing tuition costs but huge textbook prices for books that have supplemental book sections, frequently updated editions, and textbooks that include complimentary lab notes, CDs, etc. This means that students can no longer use old editions of textbooks to get their assigned reading done. With the frequent textbook updates, which occur on just about a yearly basis, buying used textbooks from the previous years’ students or using old editions from the campus or local library is a lost cause.

On top of that, with professors expecting to receive a hefty fee for, first, writing a textbook, and second, earning the royalties when they assign the same textbook to their entire political science class—it’s no wonder why thousands of students are forced to purchase brand new textbooks at approximately $100 a piece for every class over a 3 year period. It just doesn’t seem fair that colleges and universities see it as acceptable to gouge their student body. I mean, where is the academic integrity?

Online textbooks, however, are one affordable solution for students who aren’t at school on rich mommy and daddy’s dime. In fact, if you Google “rent textbook”, you’ll find numerous sites that offer rental textbooks at a fraction of the cost of buying those new editions from the campus book store. For example, and are just two of hundreds of online textbook rental providers that will ship students their textbooks to use for a semester. The $4.00 shipping cost (on average) pays for shipping to the student’s dorm room, as well as return shipping to the provider, once the student is done with the book.

Thanks to textbook rentals students can receive the most relevant, up-to-date editions of textbooks possible—and not have to sacrifice essentials like food, transportation, clothing or their education in order to buy an overly priced textbook.

Here are four ways that online textbooks can help students save money.

1. Online textbook rentals: A student can rent a new version of a textbook for about $50, on average—that’s half off the cover price of purchasing the same book.

2. Pool resources: A group of students or even a class can split the cost of renting one textbook—then everyone gets a photocopied version of the text for their own reference.

3. Free e-textbooks: The great thing about the internet is that you can find almost anything you want for free. Just like your favorite movies, music and television episodes, sites like Google Books, offer thousands of scanned copies of popular textbooks in their most recent editions. So if you’re an English or sociology major you might be in luck finding popular titles and classics, however, if you study computer science, chemistry or another niche topic, you may have to stick with rentals or used books.

4. Swap bookshops: Taking the idea from traditional swap meets, web book swaps connect college students with other students so that you can swap textbooks free. Check out reputable swaps like, and

About The Author

Edwin is a marketer, social media influencer and head writer here at Frugal Wiz. He manages a large network of high quality finance blogs and social media accounts. You can connect with him via email here.

1 Comment

  1. Kimberly Adantee

    Really?! I didn’t even know online textbooks existed! Where was this post when I was going to university last year? Lol


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