How to save thousands on WSU textbooks

WSU Textbooks

One of the first things you realize as a student at Washington State University is the toll textbooks can take on your bank account. But don't worry, as a professional penny pincher I've learned all the secrets to slash the cost of textbooks so you can splurge and buy the fancy ramen.

Tip #1 - Just Don't Buy Them

No really I'm serious. Instead of buying your textbooks right off the bat wait until you're sure they're needed for class. What no one tells you is that for most of your classes the "required" textbooks aren't actually needed and are only used as "supplementary material". If you know how to use google then 9/10 times you'll be just fine. Even if your Syllabus states that you NEED the class text book still hold off. Worst case you have to share a textbook for one class period, best case you save $300 by not buying that obscure history textbook. 

Tip #2 - Buy an Older Edition of Your Textbook

Textbooks get updated frequently and are constantly releasing new editions that are only available new at the bookie. If you wait until after syllabus week to get your books, then your professor will often tell you an older edition is fine to use. For most new editions, all the information is the same but with updated examples or with a reorganized table of contents. Unless the professor specifically says you need the newest edition, you can find used copies of older books for a lot cheaper even if you only buy from the bookie. Is this a conspiracy by big textbook? 

Tip #3 - Share a Book With a Friend or Roommate

This may not be the best option for everyone but I did this all the time at WSU. If you have a roommate who is taking the same class as you then you can split the cost of the textbook and each use it when you need to. Why pay full price for a textbook you use an hour a week right? If you roomie needs the book for awhile you can always take pictures of the sections you need to read now . 

Tip #4 - Buying Used Means More Than The Bookie's Used Section

The Bookie does have the convenience of having everything you need in one place but it will always come with a higher price tag. That may be fine for the trust fund babies but the rest of us haver to be scrappy. So here's my favorite places you can check out to get discounted or even free books. 

  • Facebook Groups: One of the best ways to buy (and sell) your books is to buy them from other students. You can find most of your book's through Facebook marketplace, but for the really good deals checkout the local buy and sell groups for WSU textbooks. Best part is if you can't find the textbooks you need then make a ISO post, it'll surprise you how many people have the book you need collecting dust on their shelf, and you're helping your fellow Cougs get rid of the books they forgot they had.
  • WSU Library: The library often has copies of some of the books you need available to be checked out for the semester or that are on reserve so you can come to the library and use them whenever you want. Act quick though, these tend to go pretty quickly.
  • Club Libraries: A lot of the student clubs have libraries of textbooks left behind by the graduating class. Most clubs are more then happy to lend  what you need as long as you're a club member. I did this all the time with the textbooks the WSU Aerospace club has.
  • Thriftbooks: Thriftbooks is a huge online used bookstore that has a ton of textbooks for cheap. If you can find the book you need, this can be a great option. 
  • Amazon: You can buy textbooks on amazon for a bit cheaper than at the bookie but the real pro move is to use amazon to rent your books. You get the book you need just for the semester and then send them back all for significantly less than buying the book. Plus amazon makes the shipping process a breeze.
  • CheggSimilar to Amazon, Chegg has great prices on textbook rentals as well as new and used books. Returning their books are also just as easy.
  • Access free PDFs: If you don't mind an online version of your textbook, finding a PDF is by far the cheapest option. There are sites that you can download PDF copies of your textbook for completely free. But you didn't hear it from me... Totally dont check out libgen or zlibrary for free ebooks. They don't always have the book you are looking for but if they do it's a great money saver.


Hope these tips on buying textbooks at WSU save some Cougs a little cash. If only they had somewhere with awesome WSU products to spend that savings... ;)

As always,




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