Cheaper alternatives for buying text books and saving money

Sales Associate Ryan Pell (lower right) assists student Maika Takayabu (left) locate a book for her GCIP class at the Palomar College bookstore. • Lucas Spenser/Telescope

Sales Associate Ryan Pell (lower right) assists student Maika Takayabu (left) locate a book for her GCIP class at the Palomar College bookstore. • Lucas Spenser/Telescope

Don’t know how to get cheap text books each semester? No need to fear, there are multiple ways to save money and be prepared.

Palomar College students have found cheap and affordable ways, around campus and online, to purchase books.

The bookstore launched their flash sale promotion during November for all customers interested in school-related needs. The event had different items for sale on different days including clothes, books and supplies.

Students can also take advantage of the buyback service, which allows students to sell their used books to the bookstore in exchange for cash.

“The flash sale doesn’t really interest me, but at least I can sell my useless books back now,” said 23-year-old student Richard Parks.

Another place to find cheap used books in San Marcos is the Off CampusBookstore. The store buys and sells used textbooks to students and is located at1450 W. Mission Rd.

“I have only bought one or two books there,” said student Tim Gensler, 21, a history major. “I have sold there (as well) and it’s nice to get a couple of extra bucks.”

Students have also found one of the alternatives for finding books is online. Websites such as and provide cheap, used books for sometimes less than half of what a new book costs.

In addition to these broad online sites, there are also many student-based sites. Websites such as and are specifically designed for students to buy textbooks from other students who are done with their classes.

“I buy my books online from Amazon or,” said 19-year-old biology major Becky Dileo. “I can never find a good deal anywhere else.”

Another alternative option to buying books is choosing to rent them instead. Most book retailers, including the bookstore, have renting options for a fraction of what the book costs to buy. has a rental section designed for college students. According to the website, the buyer can personalize their return date. All student books come with free two-day shipping and free shipping on returned booksStatistics from Amazon’s sales department show that 42 percent of its sales for college books is through rentals.

With the rise of technology, some students are switching to electronic textbooks and other electronic forms of text material. E-books are usually cheaper than most hard copy books and can be found alongside them on most textbook websites, including and iTunes.

Although e-books are a cheap alternative, some teachers do not allow electronic devices in class. They find technology to be a distraction to students and have banned all forms of devices from their classroom.

“Use of laptop computers or any other electronic devices during class is unacceptable behavior,” said Anthropology Professor Gulay Dinckan.


Author: Daniel Gaglio

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  1. What about borrowing from friends than buying the books? lol

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  2. Another useful tip: Buy older editions of textbooks.

    Unless your professor requires you to do specific problems from the book, most of the information will be the same. You can still gain the same intellectual capital through studying an older edition rather than a new one and be able to ace the tests all the same. I personally managed to save over $460 by using this trick.

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  3. If professors are not too specific about the edition of textbook being used for a particular class, then earlier editions are often cheaper than new editions. Also, for coursework in the classics, e-content or e-books can sometimes be obtained for free via public domain since the copyright has expired on the content.

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