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Most back-to-school news usually comes pouring in around August and September, but there’s no denying January is just as huge for college students getting ready to jump into a new semester or quarter.Spring classes means generally one thing: Time to pony up the cash for a fresh set of textbooks.
From e-books to online swap meets, there’s absolutely no reason to plop down money for glossy hardbacks when you could be funelling that cash into paying off those student loans.
Here’s a quick guide for buying, renting, selling and swapping your text books online:
Amazon’s Book Rental. Rent e-books as long as you need them (30 days is the minimum) and save up to 80% off the cover price. The best part about this service is that all your highlights and notes will still be available via their Cloud service even after you’ve returned your book. You can download books to just about any device, including the iPad, Kindle, Macs and PCs.
Collegebookrenter.com. This site promises savings up to 85% off the cover price of textbooks. It claims to have the largest textbook inventory on the market and also allows you to sell or buy books new. CEO Chuck Jones says they aren’t offering e-books at the moment but don’t charge customers for shipping costs. And if you’re really into highlighting the margins, Jones promises they’re far more lenient in that regard.
Chegg.com.This site has a huge inventory of books for rent and it recently launched an e-book rental service as well. You can download books to your account and access them anytime on the Web. The only drawback is they’re only available as streaming files, so you have to have an Internet connection to access them and they can’t be downloaded.
Campusbookrentals.com. They give you a 15-day late return grace period and offer three options for rentals: 55 days (summer), 130 days (semester) and 85 days (quarter). Extra perk: They’re cool with highlighting fanatics, too.
Buy & Sell: Don’t knock those used bookstores on campus. They’re one of the best ways to save on textbooks. But if you want to cover all your bases, don’t miss these sites.
You can sell back your books on most sites, but Amazon is a great go-to site for anyone new to the game. Campusbooks.com has a great app to find the best buy-back price on your books. Stack up your text books with the ISBN codes all facing the same direction snap a photo with your smartphone. Give Cash4books.net a try if you’re looking for something quick and simple. You can ship your book to them free and they pay by check or via PayPal.
Swoopthat.com. This site is unique in that all you have to do is punch in the name of the course you’re taking (it stores course information for 2,500 schools) and it’ll track down the books you need for you. It shoots backs results for used books, new books, ebooks, and rentals.
Swap.com. The go-to site to swap everything from DVDs to expired Groupons, Swap.com is also great for trading out textbooks. If you’ve got an older edition you know you won’t get much cash back for, it might be a better idea to try to swap it for another title.
Edubookswap.com. This site is a bit different in that it charges a fee ($8.95) for swapping services. If you sign up for a five-swap plan, that gets knocked down to $7.99 per book. But the cool part is every book you post for sale accrues points toward your account, which can then be applied to a book purchase. The points for each book are based on fair market value of the book, age and demand.
Bookmooch.com. This is a true swap site, in that you trade books even-steven with other users and get points for every book you give away. For each book you give, you can get one back in return and you only pay the cost of shipping. You can also request books from other countries and choose to donate points to charities.
Did I miss any great sites you’ve used before? Feel free to let me know in the comments.
Now that you’re saving on textbooks, see 9 ways to get your finances in order after you graduate >