How to get college textbooks for free (or nearly free)

how to buy college textbooks for free (or nearly free)
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Higher education is getting more and more expensive, and the cost of college textbooks is no small part of that equation.
The average price of college textbooks for a full year of school now exceeds $1,200, according to the latest figures. A recent survey indicates that because of the steep prices, as many as 65% of college students are choosing not to pay for course books, potentially hindering their grades.

Thankfully, there are ways to get college course books for free or very close to it.

A recent discussion on about how to get cheap college textbooks yielded some very good tips. Here are some of those suggestions, along with others.

Here are some ways to get college textbooks for free (or nearly free)

Ask your professor is there are alternatives to buying the books

Many college teachers remember when they, too, were cash-strapped college kids. Ask if there is a free hard copy or online version of the textbook that you can use for the semester.

Buy them used

You can find used college textbooks for sale on the internet. Aside from mainstays like, and eBay, numerous websites have been set up specifically for this purpose. Some ones to check out:, as well as Barnes & Noble’s Used Textbook Section — and don’t forget about and Chegg Books.

Project Gutenberg

The Project Gutenberg initiative has nearly 50,000 electronic books available online. The textbook you need just might be there.

Textbook Nova

This website finds college and high school textbooks for sale on Amazon for you. All you have to do is enter the title, keyword, author or ISBN.

Rent them

There are also sites that let you rent your college textbooks at a discount and return them when you’re done. In addition to some of the sites listed already, check out and

Try the city library

Take a look inside your city library. If they don’t have the book you need, ask the librarian if they can find it among their network of library branches. There’s a good chance they can get it through the interlibrary loan program. The beautfiul part about this is that it will cost you absolutely nothing!
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