Alternative ways to cheaper college textbooks

Googling the ISB numbers of the textbooks can save you money

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - Getting your child ready for school doesn't end when they get that high school diploma. Parents with kids in college bear the brunt of the cost; and textbooks take up a big part of that budget.

Most students Local 2 polled at the University of Houston told us they'll spend about $400 on books this semester. That's why we asked Consumer Expert Amy Davis to help you save some cash on all those required textbooks.

The campus bookstore used to be where most students went to buy, rent or sell back their books. These days, there are so many more resources and they're all at your fingertips.

Googling the ISB numbers of the textbooks you need will show you in minutes a plethora of book sellers that have the books and their prices.

We tested a book called 'The Media of Mass Communication.' At the UH campus bookstore it will cost you $140. On we found it for $69.95 plus free shipping.

Out of 16 textbooks we checked, all but two were cheaper online than they were in the bookstore. You can save significantly more by renting textbooks from That same media book we found for $69.95 is only $24.48 if we rent it. You get to keep the book until the end of the semester. Amazon pays the cost to ship it back.

UH Senior Abbas Batliwala saves money and back pain by purchasing e-books. He downloads them onto his tablet, laptop or phone; and he never has to lug them around campus.

"I rarely buy any textbooks from bookstores because it saves me a lot of money buying PDFs from online," said Batliwala.

We found a book on healthcare reform that sells at the UH bookstore for $16.95; it's only $8.79 if we download it for a Kindle online.

We checked the new Google Textbooks service that just launched this month. They didn't have most of the books we searched for. The easiest way to look is to just type the book's ISB number into Google.

Copyright 2013 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.