Shop around for your textbooks

If you are a non-traditional student, you know how expensive textbooks can be. I know I used to be surprised by that. Luckily, where I live, they have used textbooks available in the same stores as the new books.

Sometimes, though, it was hard to find the used versions of textbooks. After I got them, I wished I had known ahead of time what my classes were, so that I could have looked them up on Amazon, too.

My advice now is the find out what books you need way ahead of time, so that you can maybe order your used copies from Amazon.


First of all, Amazon is at:

When you look up the book (by ISBN, or book number if you have it) there is a section on Amazon that allows you to look up all the offerings of the book, including used ones.

Be sure to find out whether the book has a CD in it, and whether the used book description says “CD included”.

Check the seller’s feedback on the site to see if other people like them. You want to get a used book for at least half of what it cost new. The book will be rated for condition.

An “acceptable” book condition means that it may be in poor shape, and marked up on the inside. If this does not bother you, go ahead and get it. Otherwise, bypass “acceptable” books and get a good or very good copy.

Allow 4-6 weeks for your book to arrive by Media Mail, and you could save a bundle.

I have personally ordered books from Amazon, and have been really happy with the sellers I have found so far.


Check your bulletin boards and your student newspaper to find out if there are any books that students are selling after they have taken their courses. You can sometimes get a good deal from a student who needs the money right after their class is over.

Or post your “book want list” on a school bulletin board with your phone number and get a good used copy that way. You can make a “take my number” style for your ad so people can just rip off your number and give you a call.


Want to try to find other book swaps, exchanges, or buying sites? You can try these:

Used Textbook Classifieds – swap textbooks with other students

College SwapShop:

Profeval has a good search site for books. You can search Amazon,, and Barnes and to find your book by the ISBN number. Here is the link:

These three look good, but I haven’t personally tried them. Let me know if they are any good.

Have another site you like? Send it to me or leave a comment here. Thanks!