Either not long from now or sometime in the next year, you or your kids, maybe you for your kids, will be buying textbooks for a slew of college courses. If not, the rest of this page really won't directly help you save money, but the information is still useful.
I remember trying to figure out how I was going to pay for a $200 USD textbook. It wasn't a great feeling. I really wish I had known how to save $130 USD on a computer textbook I needed for a compiler theory course. I probably would have still wasted the money, so don't do that. Seriously don't waste the money you will save.
Before the (.co.uk) domain scares you off, they shoe prices in British Pounds, but you will still pay in USD or whatever local currency is. AbeBooks.co.uk has saved me literally thousands of dollars since I started purchasing my books from there. AbeBooks is a sort of Market Place. With just two of my most recent purchases I saved $60 on a couple books that I needed. Not the crazy saving you are going to see on Textbooks, but still a good savings.
Alright now to the crazy savings. Just for kicks I wanted to see how much I would have saved by purchasing a specific textbook online at AbeBooks.co.uk. Ok, this Computer Science textbook is Compilers Principle, Techniques and Tools (2nd Edition). On Amazon new with free shipping it is $166 USD at the time I am writing this article. Quickly copying the ISBN-10 number from the Amazon page and searching AbeBooks.co.uk by ISBN, renders pages of cheap offers. The first price is crazy cheap at £16 with Free Shipping within the United State. At the time of writing this is just $21 or about; I don't know about you but that is an amazing deal. So good, I bought the book and even a copy of the 1st edition. I used a book exchange to get it for my course back then; I really have wanted it on my shelf a long while.
Keep in mind each listing is from a different seller, I frequently see GoodWill, Small Book Stores, and rarely see individuals names as a seller. I have never had an issue with the quality of the books received either. In fact, the latest book had some extremely helpful notes written on the page borders.
Ok, I have to admit, not all of the books I have ever searched for were available on AbeBooks.co.uk, but don't forget that eBay is still around. I know they aren't what they used to be. Everyone knew their name in 2002 and almost everything legally purchasable was available on eBay. I know people who have never heard of it, or at least never used it. I find a surprising amount of odd books on there. But normally the prices are not as low as AbeBooks.co.uk, and you are normally buying from an individual, not a company like GoodWill or TheBookWorld.
Have a look at their Textbook selection Here
The book exchange programs are better than buying the books from the school's bookstore, for sure. But if you look at the textbook rental price on Amazon compared to the purchase price on on AbeBooks.co.uk you will see more often than not, it is still noticeably cheaper to purchase the book on AbeBooks.co.uk, maybe after buying all the books instead of renting, you could have enough to go to the movies a couple time, our buy a month or two supply of college food staples like "top ramen". And, will minimal effort, using eBay to sell them. If you really don't want the book, and are to lazy to sell it; use it to start your fireplace or charcoal grill.