How much do I have to spend on textbooks?


Each option for buying or renting textbooks have pros and cons. Photo by Andrew Leavitt.

Textbooks have never been very much of an issue for me, and that is because I am an expert on finding sweet textbook deals.

There are essentially four good places for textbooks and rentals: the SUU Bookstore, Chegg, Amazon, and Amazon Kindle. I am typically a renter; I don’t like to keep books that I don’t need to. I’m also a Kindle guy. Textbooks are heavy, my tablet is not, so if the prices are comparable, I will spend a bit more to get the electronic version.

For this semester, I needed 5 books. “The World of Myth, 2nd Ed.,” “Tu Mundo: español sin fronteras,” “Abrete paso: A Beginner’s Manual to Basic Spanish Grammar: workbook and novel,” “Waiting for Godot,” and “The Critical Tradition.”

SUU Bookstore

The benefit to the bookstore is swiftness; books are on shelves, then credit cards are on counters, then books are in backpacks. The drawback is that maybe the book can be sold back, but maybe not, or for almost no money. The price might be higher, the price might be lower. Roll the dice.

“The World of Myth, 2nd Ed.” – Price: New $31.99, Rent $12.99

“Tu Mundo: español sin fronteras” – Price: New $180.99, Rent $45.99

“Abrete paso: A Beginner’s Manual…” – Price: New $56.00, Used $42.00

“Waiting for Godot” – Price: New $14.00, Used $10.50

“The Critical Tradition” – Price: New $86.75, Used $65.00

The SUU Bookstore – books are located downstairs. Photo by Andrew Leavitt


I had not used Chegg until this semester, but my roommate last year used it each semester so I gave it shot this semester and have really enjoyed it. I do think the quality of the rentals can vary, but it tends to have the cheapest prices on most textbooks (although it doesn’t have all of them, I have to turn to Amazon for some.)

“The World of Myth, 2nd Ed.” – Price: New $31.99, Rent $13.49

“Tu Mundo: español sin fronteras” – Price: New $156.00, Used $112.50, Rent $45.99

“Abrete paso: A Beginner’s Manual…” – UNAVAILABLE

“Waiting for Godot” – Price: New $14.99, Rent $10.99, eTextbook $8.18

“The Critical Tradition” – Price: New $90.99, Used $60.99, Rent $86.49


I used Amazon for most of my books last year. It’s easy, I had Amazon Prime at the time so I got my books quick, and it was nice to go through the same site for all my books. Sometimes they don’t have the best prices, but returning is easy through the mail. Amazon also has the options to buy from other sellers, but they are usually not the cheapest prices. They also have more options for texts than anyone else, between hardcovers and paperbacks, used, new, or rentals.

“The World of Myth, 2nd Ed.” – Price: New $20.45, Used $14.49

“Tu Mundo: español sin fronteras” – Price: Hardcover New $123.99, Hardcover Used $109.99, Hardcover Rental $79.98, Paperback $90.00,

“Abrete paso: A Beginner’s Manual…” – CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE

“Waiting for Godot” – Price: New $9.03

“The Critical Tradition” – Price: Hardcover New $209.81, Hardcover Used $109.47, Paperback New $72.17

Amazon Kindle

My favorite way to get books. Some people say they cannot read on electronics for long periods of time, but I have no issue, so I get the Kindle when I can. They’re often the cheapest option, and certainly the lightest when I have to walk all over campus from class to class. Sadly, not many books are available on them, so when they are, I jump on it.

Sadly, the only book available for me this semester was “Waiting for Godot,” which was $8.53. I quickly bought it. I also found a PDF version of “The Critical Tradition” online after searching “the critical tradition pdf kindle download” on Google. It is not a route I recommend, as the quality is low, I cannot make edits, and the general usability sucks. I probably will end up buying the book.

Overall, I ended up keeping my costs low this semester. I just took the cheapest option from each section: 1 from the bookstore, 2 from Chegg, 1 from Amazon Kindle, and 1 PDF from the web, for a total of $110.01.

Do you have any tips for cheap textbooks? Websites we missed? Let us know on twitter @suunews, or let us know in the comments.

Story by
Andrew Leavitt