Free College Textbooks:
A How-to Guide

This article will explain exactly how to get free college textbooks, for all four years of school. I used these techniques every semester at school, and they never failed me.

This is the process I relied on to get free college textbooks every semester at school. Obviously, this isn't the easiest thing to pull off, but if you really need to save that money, you can follow these steps to earn your freebies.

1) Plan ahead. This means you need to choose your fall classes the previous spring. The longer you have to find a free book, the better your chances are.

Okay, once you've planned ahead, you can start to hustle for all that textbook knowledge, on a budget.

2) The first place I always looked for free college textbooks was the school library. At Duke, the library has to carry every textbook for every class. It's a rule, and not many people know it

Now, a lot of people balk here. They say they don't want to use the library books. They need their own books. They need to highlight in the book. They want to OWN their books.

If any of that is true for you, you're going to have to pay for it. But first, let me try to talk you out of it.

No! You do not need your own books. And no! You are not too good for the library copy. Library copies are just as good as the copies you pay $150 in the store, just free.

There is one downside to the library book, though. Although textbooks typically have longer than average check out times, if someone calls the book in, you're going to have to fork it over.

But that shouldn't be a problem. You can make copies from the book before you give it up. Then you can re-request it in two weeks. And then your free books is back.

If you choose your classes early enough, you should be able to stake out the books nice and early, and then you'll at least be set for the beginning of the semester.

Also, if you're prepared to get a little dishonest, you won't have any issues with people calling the book in once you check it out. Just... Don't check it out.

No, I'm not saying you should steal the book. Just hide it somewhere deep in the stacks, out of place. Then it will be your own personal textbook, and it will stay safe from prying eyes.

3) Team Up with your Classmates! Everybody wants free college textbooks. And if you all work together, you can share the library copy all semester without any problems.

4) Okay, let's say the library textbooks aren't working out for you, for whatever reason. There's no need to panic. You can still get a free textbook. Here's what you do:

Approach your professors the semester before you take their class. Explain that you're short on money, and ask if you can borrow a copy of the textbook from them.

If they say no, don't give up. Ask if you can maybe help them after class (TAing, organizing papers, whatever) in exchange for the book.

This will work the vast majority of the time. And you'll come away not only with a free textbook, but with a lot of quality time with your teacher - - that can never hurt when grading time comes around.

5) Barter and trade! If you do a little research on facebook (hint - search for study groups) and on your school's online interface, you can find class lists pretty easily.

Find out who was in the class you want the book for last year, and send them a message. Offer to trade other books for their book. Offer to tutor them for the book. Get creative. Ask for their sympathy. If they're not using the book, they'll probably help you out.

6) Does your school trade cash for books at the end of the semester? Most school do. Get a job working for these people, or even offer to volunteer! This way, all the books they can't use, you'll have first dibs at.

These books can either be sold online, or used when you're trying to work out book trades with other students.

Okay - that's it. The how to guide on how to score free college textbooks.

Like I said, these methods never failed me in four years, and I've got tons of friends who even use these techniques for grad school (and those books are even more expensive.)

I think the most important rule to be determined and creative. You'd be surprised what people will give you if you just ask.

If you're willing to work hard, you'll find those free books somewhere.

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