Textbook Price Comparison Tools: Saving Tips for Online College


Textbooks are important, whether you’re starting in college or reviewing for a board exam. They serve as the path leading to knowledge, a companion of learning. But despite their importance, the number of college students purchasing them is decreasing.

The reason? Skyrocketing textbook prices.

The cost of printed textbooks is increasing every year. It leaves many students with no choice but to seek alternatives to traditional purchasing methods. As a result, more and more students are using digital textbooks, e-books, and OERs to reduce the financial burden.

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Yet, the cost can still overwhelm students with limited financial resources. This is where textbook price comparison tools come into play.

Online college textbooks are more affordable. But they can even be cheaper if you know how and where to look. Textbook comparison tools help you quickly compare book prices posted on various online websites. These tools will help you find more affordable textbooks for online students.

Why Textbook Prices Matter

The job market has become very competitive. Job seekers may expect a slightly more challenging experience, such as a 10% to 20% rise in applications for numerous job postings. One of the best ways to stand out in job applications is by having a degree from a reputable institution.

But how can students afford to attend these reputable institutions when textbook prices are increasingly outpacing inflation rates?

According to the College Board, undergraduate students set aside $1,200 and $1,300 per year for textbooks and supplies. This amounts to up to 13% of tuition at a public four-year university and 40% at a two-year community college.

That is too much for many students and families who are already having difficulty paying for college. Expensive textbooks have a negative impact on students. They often lead to academic setbacks as students struggle to afford the required materials.

Due to its prices, many students are forced to skip purchasing textbooks altogether. Meanwhile, some students rely on outdated editions, which hinder their ability to excel academically. It also forces them to make tough choices like taking on more debt and working extra hours, ultimately sacrificing academic success.

As a college student, you must be wiser and more strategic with your purchases. Although it might take time and effort, you must compare textbook prices online before purchasing. Some bookstores offer lower prices for new, used, and rental books.

Saving money on textbooks offers several benefits.

You can free up funds and allocate them to other essential expenses. This helps mitigate cost-related concerns, allowing you to focus more on your academic pursuits. Affordable textbooks can lead to improved mental health and overall academic performance.

Saving money on textbooks can also have long-term financial benefits. Being practical in college goes a long way. Plus, if you don’t have to use loans or credit cards as much to buy textbooks, you won’t owe as much money later. This means you won’t have to spend years paying off big debts.

Top 10 Textbook Price Comparison Tools

There are hundreds of price comparison tools online. However, not all of them are reliable. We’ve rounded up the ten best textbook price comparison sites to help you find the best deals on your course materials. Use these tools to save money on college textbooks effectively:


AddAll searches the internet to find the best textbook prices among 100,000+ booksellers, bookstores, and millions of books. It helps students save money by showing them where to buy their books for less.


BooksPrice.com is easy to use and helps students find cheap textbooks without any hassle.


BigWords stands out with its powerful search algorithms, delivering unmatched results that help students secure the lowest prices on textbooks. It ultimately lightens the financial burden of higher education.


With its vast network of sellers and intuitive search features, BookFinder.com simplifies the process of finding affordable textbooks, empowering students to make informed purchasing decisions effortlessly.


BookScouter boasts a user-friendly interface and real-time pricing updates. It enables students to quickly compare textbook prices across numerous vendors, ensuring they get the best value for their money.


CampusBooks streamlines the textbook buying process with its intuitive interface and comprehensive search capabilities. It helps students to locate the most cost-effective options for their course materials quickly.


True to its name, CheapestTextbooks.com prioritizes affordability. It offers students a wide selection of discounted textbooks from various sellers, helping them stretch their budgets further.


SlugBooks compares prices from various sources, including major retailers and rental sites. It helps students find the cheapest option for buying or renting textbooks.

Cheapest Textbooks

This website compares prices from multiple sellers, including online marketplaces, bookstores, and rental services.


AllBookstores.com helps students compare textbook prices at more than three dozen online bookstores. It makes it easy for students to find the best deals on their books.

The key features you need to consider when using price comparison tools include:

  1. Retailers covered: A good price comparison tool should check prices from many different shops so you can find the best deal.
  2. Accurate and Up-to-Date Information: Make sure the tool updates often so you know you’re getting the most current prices.
  3. User-Friendly interface: The tool should be simple to use with clear menus and search options so you can find what you want easily.
  4. Advanced Search Filters: Find a tool that lets you narrow down your search using things like brand, price, and customer ratings.
  5. Price History and Trends: Some tools can show you how prices change, helping you decide when to buy.
  6. Mobile-Friendly: Make sure the tool works well on your phone so you can check prices wherever you are.

Beyond these websites, you can also use online college resources to find cheap college textbooks. Many colleges have groups or forums where students buy, sell, or exchange textbooks at discounted prices. Don’t forget about the library; while you may not be able to keep the textbooks, borrowing them for a short period can save you significant money.

How to Use Price Comparison Tools Effectively

Textbook affordability for students remains a pressing issue, with many struggling to afford required course materials. However, it’s not your fault that the prices of textbooks are increasing. However, it’s up to you to take advantage of opportunities to save money, especially considering there are plenty of options out there for finding more affordable books.

Here’s a step-by-step guide on using these tools to get the best deals:

1st Step: Pick Your Comparison Tool

  • Choose a reliable comparison tool or website.
  • Explore their features to find the best fit for your needs.

2nd Step: Search for Your Book

  • Enter the specific book title, author, or description for accurate results.

3rd Step: Filter and Arrange

  • Utilize filters like price range to refine your search.
  • Sort results by price to quickly identify top deals.

4th Step: Review and Rating Check

  • Consider both price and product quality.
  • Prioritize items with positive reviews for better long-term satisfaction.

5th Step: Shipping and Returns Check

  • Compare shipping costs and return policies among retailers.
  • Factor these costs into your overall decision.

6th Step: Hunt for Coupons

  • Explore available discounts and coupons, often integrated into comparison tools.

7th Step: Cashback Consideration

  • Look for cashback or rewards options offered by your chosen tool.

8th Step: Platform Comparison

  • Compare prices across various other platforms like Amazon, Best Buy, and eBay.
  • Don’t overlook lesser-known retailers; they may offer competitive deals.

9th Step: Set Price Alerts

  • Utilize tools that allow setting price alerts for desired items.

Final Step: Seal the Deal

  • Once satisfied with your choice, proceed to purchase on the retailer’s site.
  • Ensure all product details meet your requirements before completing the transaction.

In line with these steps, here are a few more college textbook savings tips:

Look for used books.

You should aim to find used college textbooks instead of buying new ones when you can. Textbooks are only used for three to six months. Secondhand editions can significantly cut costs without compromising on quality.

Consider the digital version.

Lots of books these days can be scanned and can be found online. Digital versions are much cheaper since they don’t incur print and paper costs. Plus, they’re more accessible and portable.

Check the Open Education Resource.

OERs offer a free library of peer-reviewed academic textbooks. It allows users to browse and download them at no cost.


Textbook prices vary greatly, from the book’s condition to the seller’s price. Thanks to the Internet and reliable textbook price comparison tools, you have the power to navigate this variability with ease.

With just a few clicks, you get the opportunity to access a wealth of information about textbook prices from various sellers. Through this, you help make informed decisions based on your preferences and budget.