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Here’s the reason why your college textbooks are so expensive

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Tuition isn’t the only outrageous cost that college students are facing this month.

The average student spends $655 each year on textbooks, according to the National Association of College Stores, because many courses require pricey books that can cost up to $300 each.

Textbooks are costly because publishers release expensive new editions each year, undermining the used-book market, says Alex Neal, CEO ofCampusbooks.com.

“Since the publishers don’t make any money off used-book sales, their business model is to make the old editions obsolete and force you to buy a new book,” he says. For cost savings, Neal suggests these sites, including the first one, which is his:

  • Campusbooks.com carries 8 million new and used college textbooks. It searches thousands of sellers and compares prices on new and used books, rentals and e-books.
  • Amazon.com shows multiple sellers of the textbook and odds are there are sellers who have listed the used textbook at a good price. Students can buy, rent and sell textbooks and e-books.
  • Chegg.com is a search engine. You enter the ISBN, title or author’s name, and it will list the price for the physical textbook as well as the electronic version. Students can rent books, which is often cheaper than buying. Chegg provides an electronic version of textbooks for those needing a book while the physical copy ships.
  • Textbooks.com offers a best-price guarantee and free shipping on orders of more than $25.
  • Boundless allows you to search for textbooks by subject, author or ISBN, or browse through subject categories. Boundless also offers free return shipping on rentals.