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Where to Buy Cheap Textbooks in New York City

By Maya Shwayder | August 17, 2012 6:22pm
Several websites offer textbooks at deep discounts.
Several websites offer textbooks at deep discounts.
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DNAinfo/Nikhita Venugopal

NEW YORK CITY — College students can spend more than $1,000 every year on textbooks, according to an estimate from the College Board, a nonprofit association of colleges and universities.

But there are ways to avoid spending a fortune on required reading. DNAinfo.com New York has compiled a list of online outlets that sell textbooks at deep discounts. (Tip: Don't be afraid to buy used!)

1. Amazon.com

As everyone's go-to for, well, everything, Amazon.com also has its very own textbook section.

Pro: E-textbooks are available! If you have an e-reader, you can buy your textbooks digitally for even cheaper than the used versions on the site.

Con: The physical books, while discounted, are still a bit on the pricey side.

2. Half.com

At Half.com, a subsidiary of eBay, students can sell their old books and DVDs and buy them for a price that is usually greatly discounted.

Pro: Very cheap. There are books available on this site for as little as a penny.  Half.com also offers the option to rent textbooks.

Con: You might you're looking for. Many of the offerings are from those in the real estate field.

3. AbeBooks

AbeBooks, a Canadian company that was acquired by Amazon in 2008, claims to offer textbooks at 50 to 90 percent off the retail price.

Pro: Very cheap. Many of the books are available with free shipping. Unlike Half.com, most of the books on this site are sold by book dealers, rather than individuals.

Con: The site tends to specialize in rare or out-of-print books from independent bookstores.

4. Barnes & Noble


Pro: Loads of options that include new books, used books, rental books and digital books that can be bought or rented.  Discounts up to 90 percent on used books and up to 40 percent on Nook Study digital book rentals, which include all the charts and illustrations of physical text books.

Con: The Nook Study books are compatible with Mac, PC or iPad, but not with e-readers, including Barnes and Noble's own Nook. 

5. FaceBook


Pro: Low prices and dealing with friends and friends of friends.

Con: Haggling with friends and friend of friends.