Changing Lives, Transforming Communities
The tnAchieves Blog

Textbooks 101

August 13, 2020

Whether you are taking all of your classes online, in-person or somewhere in between, you will have some required class materials. Class materials include textbooks, lab equipment, workbooks, and more. Typically, your professor will provide details on the required materials at the top of your class syllabus or on their course webpage.

Textbooks are often the most expensive class materials, so be sure that you are shopping smart. While your college’s bookstore may sell your textbooks, it may not be the most cost-effective option. Textbooks are often available for rent or as eBooks so be sure to pay attention to the options available! Here are some tips for shopping smart when it comes to your textbooks:

  • Buy ahead – In order to best prepare for the term, purchase all of your textbooks and other class materials before the first day of class. Stores often have limited quantities of each textbook, so shop early to avoid waiting for your materials to arrive. Bring all of your materials to class on the first day or have them ready for your online session.
  • Know your options – Instead of buying all of your textbooks, try renting them. Check your options when it comes to the format of the textbook (i.e. rental, new, eBook). Rental textbooks are often less expensive than brand new textbooks. Most rental textbook retailers allow you to write in the book as long as it is neat. Pay attention to the rental policy to avoid extra charges down the road!
  • Price compare – Most textbooks are sold at multiple stores, including your college’s bookstore and several online retailers. Check as many options as possible to ensure that you are getting the best deal possible!
  • Return on time – If you are renting your textbook, pay attention to the return date! If you fail to return your textbook on time, you may be charged a late fee.
  • Sell it – Once the term is over, you may not need your textbooks anymore. If you purchased new textbooks, look into selling or donating them.

Online Textbook Retailers:

  • Chegg – Chegg offers textbooks for rent or purchase, as well as eTextbooks. You can save up to 90% shopping with Chegg. Shipping is free on all orders over $50 and Chegg allows 21-day hassle-free returns.
  • Amazon – Amazon offers a great variety of textbooks from various sellers. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can receive your textbook in just two days.
  • ValoreBooks – ValoreBooks offers students the ability to rent, buy or sell textbooks. Once you’re finished with a textbook, you can easily sell it through ValoreBooks.
  • AbeBooks – AbeBooks makes the textbook search process easy. They sell everything from textbooks to fine art and classic literature.
  • eCampus – Through eCampus, students can buy, sell and rent new and used textbooks. They offer free shipping on purchases over $35, as well as a 25-day hassle-free return policy.
  • – VitalSource is a leading eTextbook retailer, serving as the world's #1 eTextbook reader.