How to find cheaper college textbooks

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TEMPE - Of all the diversity on college campuses, there's one thing everyone seems to agree on: Textbooks are expensive.

“It usually ranges from about three to five-hundred dollars a semester,” ASU senior Andrea Paul said.

“Over $400. Yeah,” junior Amy Medeiros said.

“But then there's been semesters where I've spent about $750, almost $800 on books alone,” junior Brandon Borsheim said.

But a new federal law aims to aid students in pursuit of pricey textbooks.

Publishers are no longer allowed to bundle textbooks with materials like workbooks and DVD’s, which can drive prices through the roof.

Now, all the extras must be offered separately.

Also, universities are now required to provide students with a list of assigned textbooks before they register for courses.

That's good for students like Amy Medeiros, who says more time is better for sorting through all the ways to save.

“You have to do your research I think, like I do my research before every semester to see how much I'll save how much I think I'll get back and that's when I'll make my decision,” Medeiros said.

Experts say students should compare prices at the bookstore to those online.

Search engines like, and scour the internet for the best prices.

Students can even download certain books for free on websites like Google Books, and allows students to rent books online and in-stores for much less than the new or used versions.

But beware, you won't be able to sell them back to the bookstore at the end of the semester.

“So it's kind of like a toss-up,” Medeiros said. “You save money in the beginning but you don't get money back at the end.”

“I like selling my books back and getting that cash so it feels like a little reward at the end,” Andrea said.

Don't forget to check for coupon codes.

Websites like and offer an entire category of discount codes for textbooks.