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How to Save Hundreds of Dollars on College Textbooks Using Craigslist
College textbooks are expensive! Prices have risen dramatically - up 186% from 1986 to 2006. To keep your expenses as low as possible, get “textbook savvy”, and shop online for significant college textbook savings.
Before you go textbook shopping, whether in the physical world or online, you need to look at the total cost of acquiring a textbook. Chasing prices can save you money, but if you drive all over town and spend many hours in the process, you may not save as much as you think. With gas at well over $3.00 per gallon in much of the country, you can quickly use $10-20 worth of gas to drive across town to buy just one book! Make sure you take that into account.
If you decide to shop online, you can find great deals, but you will have to do some research to find the best textbook bargains. One great free website that many people overlook for buying textbooks is Craigslist.org. Craigslist is a great resource to find just about anything. Craigslist is a free website - one of the last “commercial free” websites on the Internet that has intentionally chosen to stay free to users, and it does not allow commercial advertising. How refreshing!
Once you have the name and publisher information of the textbooks you are looking for, simply go to Craigslist.org, and select your city or region. Then begin your search by typing the word “textbook” into the search box. When you start searching for textbooks on the site, you will notice that most of the listings are books for sale, but sometimes people will post books that they need to buy. When it comes time for you to sell your book, look for these listings.
The number of textbooks posted for sale, and buyers looking for textbooks, varies greatly, based on the time of year. Naturally, the period between the end of a college semester and the first week or two of the following semester has the most listings. Listings expire quickly, so check back every couple of days.
If you are a textbook seller on Craigslist, and you post in one of the 10 largest cities on Craigslist, your listing will expire after 1 week, so make sure that you repost your listing each week. All other listings will run for 45 days.
Craigslist’s popularity is growing quickly. If you don’t find what you are looking for, you can expand your search to other cities. If you find an out of town seller of a book you need, and they’re selling it at a great price, you can negotiate the shipping costs. If the seller is local, you can make arrangements to pick it up, or better yet, ask if the seller is willing to deliver it to you.
Many of the listings include images of the textbooks, as indicated by a “pic” or “img” after the description, so you can see the condition of them prior to buying. When it comes time to resell your books, the condition of your book will affect how much you get for it, so avoid buying a book that is falling apart. If there are no pictures, contact the seller and ask about the condition. Also remember that when it’s time for you to resell them, take a good quality picture before you post it on Craigslist!
I recommend creating an account on Craigslist, because it speeds up the process and you can repost expired listings.
There are many great resources online for finding college textbooks inexpensively, but Craigslist is unique because it is a free resource that brings buyers and sellers together, quickly and easily, without the trappings and complications of commercial websites. Bargains abound on Craigslist, and armed with these tips, you are sure to find great deals!
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