How to Buy School Books, Textbooks, Homeschool Curriculum....any Books for Less!

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How to Buy School Books, Textbooks, Homeschool Curriculum....any Books for Less!

I can't remember the last time I paid the full price for a book.  It pains me to even THINK of it!

It's that time of the year!--Time to buy school books if you are a homeschooler or textbooks if your kids are starting college.  It just so happens that my friends and family are all the 'thrifty' type and we've learned a thing or two about getting books cheap. (Thanks Angela F., queen of Ebayers, for getting me started.)

I always assume that everyone knows the cheapest way to buy a book, but then I get feedback from friends and learn that this isn't always the case. So today, I thought I'd share the fruits of my labor this week. Just be careful when buying college textbooks to get the right edition.  You can read more about buying cheap college books at this College

I bought several hundred dollars worth of school books and college books for $85.00!

Borrow the Book
Before you buy anything be sure to ask around.  Borrowing and sharing with friends is the cheapest way to get books of course. Thanks Terri, my cake baking friend, for my Tapestry curriculum! You're a queen!

Here are my favorite sources for cheap fiction, text-books, home school curriculum or college books.

Used Book Stores
I guess this goes without saying, but living where I do, there AREN'T any used book stores that could sell books I could use. Still, if you have one, of course, hit the road!  We used to love shopping at Half Price Books.  (They now have an online store too.)   But if not.. read on!

Google Shopping for Comparisons

First, do a search on the title you are looking for and click on Google Shopping. They will inevitably give you the best options. This is a quick and easy solution. Be sure to check for shipping and the book price combined. But don't buy yet. This just gives you a first peek at the options.


Used Books Online

Now open a second tab and start checking out used book sources.

Thrift is my most consistence source.  Many books are on sale for a penny and shipping is 3.99.  If you choose all your books from the same get discounts.,Abe books,  Ecampus are all great sources.  See the 'TAGS' on the left sidebar for links.

Amazon is my usual third step because they list the books new and then list used sources too. Great for comparison shopping. I open them up in a separate tab too.

Renting Textbooks

You can rent books at college campuses and sometimes this is the best option for a book that isn't on the used market yet.  There are also online sources for renting and buy back programs. Check out Ecampus! They will sell books and buy them back with you spending only a small percentage of money (like $8.00 for one I checked out) net for the book.

 EBAY for homeschool books

I sometimes can't find home school books in the more popular used book places...but often I can find a copy or two on Ebay.  There are getting to be some very good 'stores' there.  One book I needed is sold for $29.00 at the publisher's website and the book fairs, but unless you go to the bookfair, you will have to pay quite a bit for shipping.  I found a store online that offered the exact book (two copies actually) and gave free shipping.

Just be sure to check their feedback rating. This is critical!  I've been shopping for years on Ebay and as long as I stick with the sellers with high traffic and good feedback, I've never gone wrong.  Check out Used Homeschoool ebay store.

EBOOKS!!  Who would have ever thought I would try this option. I don't have a Kindle or and IPad. But you don't have to!  Both Amazon and ENook (I LOVE ENOOK's Reader (free download)) will give you FREE SOFTWARE to allow your PC to ACT like a  KINDLE or IPAD.  Electronic books are ALWAYS cheaper.

Check with your co-op leader or teacher if necessary but if a student is going to be using his books strictly at home, he/she can download them to their computer or laptop.  I was VERY impressed with the quality of the 'book like-ness' of the ebook we bought from Barne's and Noble.   We got a $30.00 book for $16.00 this way. I'm now a BIG fan of Ebooks!  But this is my very last resort as I can usually get books for less than the Ebook price.

Free Online Books

Whatever you do, don't forget to do a search for FREE EBOOKS. There are some scams out beware. But there is an amazing amount of free literature out there that you can read online. One of my favorites is The Online Books Page.


The Library

And of course, you can always use the LIBRARY.  But this source can be undependable if you and a whole group of people are all looking for the same book at the same time.  Still, I've taught an awful lot of school using library books.

Book stores that also sell USED books Hastings sells used copies right along with their new! (So does your local college book store for that matter. This is a great help when all other sources have been exhausted. I don't know how many other stores out there do this, but it's worth exploring in your area.

Veg Source is a homeschooling/ vegetarian website with a HUGE re-sale community. Some of the best books I've ever gotten were from them. Thanks Shannon R of Room for More for this tip! (She's another Ebay queen!)

I'm sure there are a MULTITUDE of other sources out be sure to add your comments if you have any good ideas.

Whatever you do, don't pay full price if you don't have too.:o) Have fun with your back to school shopping!

PS.  I shared this two weeks ago on Facebook and thought I'd pass it on to dear bloggy friends..with a few additions.  If I'm already doing something..might as well 'share the love'. :o)


Room for More said...

Also, is an EXCELLENT resource too. I use them often and they have so many books to choose from. THanks for the shout out Donna! (hugs)

Donna said...

Yes, I did list them but forgot to link them to their website. It's just They are just like Ecampus and Thriftbooks and Alibris. I usually check them all or they show up on a Google shopping list.

You're welcome Shannon. :o)

Mrs. Brittany said...


Kathy said...

We just finished Home Schooling - I am selling things off piece meal on Ebay - not much left - I sell as I go. We have done it all - paid full price - bought off Ebay - home school curriculum fairs - online....worth the searching!
For math we found a terrific website - a great blessing
Khan Academy. This MIT graduate started Youtube video tutorials for his neice that took off - now he has everything on there and a sort of course where they progress as they master a skill - very well done!
Hope all is well

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