Saving money on textbooks

FRESNO, Calif.

Every semester, students pay an average of $450 on books, but you don't have to pay full price at the college bookstore. The only requirement is access to the web.

There are so many great money-saving websites out there that can save you loads of cash on textbooks.

Before you get online, the first thing money-saving experts recommend is waiting for the syllabus to come out. Professors must submit their textbook lists far in advance of the next semester, which means they may never require you to even open the book. So it's best to talk with your professor in the first few days of class to determine whether it's worth shelling out the cash for something that may become nothing more than a paperweight.

Chegg.com is the Netflix of textbooks. It started a trend a few years ago by allowing students to rent their books. In some cases you'll save up to 80 or 90 percent on books, and shipping is often free.

Some other great rental sites to checkout are Bookrenter.com and campusbookrentals.com.

Textbooks.com, Half.com, and www.ecampus.com will also save you some green by buying used books -- and you can sell the books back once the semester is over.

Few classes require students to read every page of the required textbook, so why not download only the necessary portions from sites like Coursesmart.com and Open Courseware (ocw.mit.edu) from M.I.T.? The sites have scanned in hundreds of books for use on e-readers like Kindles and iPads and buying just a few pages versus an entire book will save you loads of money.

While websites are an excellent source of savings, experts also suggest sharing books with other students. Swapping or trading books once you're done and comparing prices before you buy.

Other websites:
couponsherpa.com
amazon.com

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