Cutting Textbook Costs

Even after the semester's first tuition bill is paid, the bills don't end for college-bound students. Textbooks and supplies cost an average $1,213. But you can cut that bill in half. Kelli Grant, Senior Consumer Reporter for tells us how.

Check out e-books. Prices for a digital version could be half as much as for a physical book. There are also e-book rentals that can be even cheaper. Those disappear from your e-reader after the rental period. But pick with care: some e-texts limit the number of pages you can print, or how you take notes.

Consider rentals. It's cheap -- we spotted a $151 textbook on Amazon that rents for $45. But just watch the due dates and other policies. You could end up on the hook for the whole cost of the book if you don't return it on time, or send it back with too many notes. It can also be a bad deal for books for your major that you'll use over a few semesters.

Compare all formats. E-books and rentals aren't always available. Even if they are, sometimes the old-fashioned used print copies are still the best deal. Look at sites like that compares new, used, e-book and rental options across dozens of sites.

Look for coupon codes. There are often incentives that can cut bills further, or sweeten an expensive purchase. For example, has a code for an extra 5% off two or more rentals and 10% off four rentals. Even college bookstores often run back-to-school deals on their Facebook and Twitter accounts.

Weigh book bundles. A lot of textbooks come with extras like workbooks or online homework courses. The law requires publishers to sell everything separately so you don't have to buy more than you need. But if your professor wants everything, you might find that buying a bundle of the text and extras is cheaper than say, renting the text and buying that online access code by itself.

For more information on buying textbooks and other consumer tips click here.