Textbook Tactic 2: How to Save $120 on a Single Compilation Textbook

Saving Hundreds of Dollars on Textbooks is my Favorite Passtime

The first blog post in the series (link below), was very effective for all the people who used it and continue to use it.

But there are a couple scenarios in which the first textbook tactic is not possible, one of which will be discussed in this blog post.

Imagine a professor that is so heartless toward her student's wallets, that she decides to compile 4 various textbooks into "her own" compilation textbook. That's the book seen in the image above.

That book costs $157. That's right. A thin, cheaply made, paper back book that a teacher quickly threw together costs $157.

Guess what? I bought it. I had to... or so I thought.

Read the first post in the series - Textbook Tactic 1: How I Saved $461.96 on Textbooks in One Semester

The professor told the class that her custom book for the class is only buyable through the University of Missouri bookstore, and that it is impossible to buy older editions or used editions. She already knew the tricks that we use to save money, and decided to destroy them.

So I bought the book from the bookstore feeling very ripped off. Then I opened the book and realized that our professor put no actual work into the textbook beyond reaching into her own textbook library and throwing some other people's textbooks into her own. Now I'm sure she went ahead and did some behind the scene's work to get copyright permission to publish the book, but in reality she did NO research, NO writing, and nothing really original. Yet we were expected to pay a huge premium just because she made it custom.

But I looked at the table of contents in the book and saw that the book was in reality just a compilation of 4 other textbooks. I made a chart of the chapters in the compilation and what chapters they corresponded to in their original books.

The chart ended up looking like the following picture. You'll want to make a chart just like it with your compilation textbook to keep track of how everything is ordered in your books when you return the compilation textbook.

Yes, these are the books that my professor used to compile her textbooks.

The next thing I did was hop on my favorite textbook websites and bought older editions of the 4 books on the list. That's right, I bought 4 textbooks off of the internet.

Trick to get Cash Back for your Textbook Purchases

The truth is, the vast majority of your textbooks will be bought from Amazon. Did you know you can get up to 7% cash back for all of your Amazon purchases?

The method is to join Swagbucks.com, use their shopping feature, and click through to Amazon from there. Whenever you do that, you get Swagbucks (worth $1 for 100 Swagbucks) in proportion to whatever Swagbuck's deal is with Amazon at the time, usually 7%. If you're spending $100 on textbooks for example, you can get up to $7 back in Swagbucks. You can redeem your Swagbucks for Paypal cash, gift cards, sweepstakes, or even charity.

Make money on your textbooks with Swagbucks

I used this method to get extra cash back on textbooks, and I also used it when I went on a cruise to Alaska by getting 8% back from Expedia.


So, which do you think cost more: these awesome textbooks below, or the single compilation textbook?

As it turns out, the grand total of all four of those new condition textbooks ran me $37 after shipping and handling. That's right $37 for 4 textbooks highly relevant to my major at the cost of nearly 1/5 of a single textbook.

I ended up walking straight back into the Mizzou bookstore and getting my $157 back. I saved $120 for that class, but also ended up with WAY more excellent books to read.

So if one of your professors decides to destroy your hopes and dreams of saving money on textbooks by compiling their own, you still have hope. Share this post with the world so that they may have hope too.