SlugBooks (Skills to Learn How to Save Money)

Textbooks are quite expensive, and college students tend to have a hard time buying them when the semester starts. Fortunately, SlugBooks offers them a stress-free and straightforward way of finding the lowest available books on the market.

Slug books was started in 1996 and was founded by the students of the University of California as SlugBooks co-op. It was a student-run cooperative that was committed to saving students the high cost of buying textbooks by providing them with a guaranteed and cheaper alternative to the high price at the campus bookstore.

One year later, was founded based on the same idea that students could save money by moving the entire book market place to the internet.

Amazon and SlugBooks co-op accomplished precisely what they set out to do, but unfortunately, in 2006, the co-op was unable to compete with Amazon and eBay and closed their doors.

However, in 2008, David Miller, a former co-op employee and a UC Santa Cruz student attempted a different approach towards the same goal, and instead of competing with the cheaper internet resellers he came up with a cost-saving service in the radically evolved textbook market that would partner with the same competitors that put the co-op out of business.

Inspired by the defunct spirit of the co-op, was launched.

This new company aggregated all of the information and purchasing options into one place, and provided students with a powerful and fun savings tool.

The SlugBooks service has since expanded significantly from the humble UC beginnings in Santa Cruz, and now serves most of the largest universities in America. While their information offering and the number of books offered has increased, they still operate under the same original simple goal of saving you money on textbooks.

How does SlugBooks work?

Slug books uses a straightforward approach in providing textbooks, and all you are required to do is type in the textbooks ISBN, and you shall receive a long book list and prices alongside them with the lowest prices available from different vendors.

The vendors are on Amazon, Chegg, eBay, etc. These companies have partnered with SlugBooks to make the price tags more affordable for a college student. The prices are shown for purchases and rentals, plus there is always an unmarked student exchange option on the page.

As you search for books on SlugBooks, you should keep your books in a list, so that you can be able to see the entire list of textbooks and their prices at once. In case you get worried about the website keeping a cache, don’t, because they give you the option to clear the cache and search history.

In addition to all this, if you have a textbook that you wish to sell, SlugBooks is one of the few sites that gives you this ability to sell. The textbook search functions are same when selling or buying. All you need to do is click on the selling option, and you shall be provided with three different online buyback sites, who are all SlugBooks partners.

They will also give you an estimate of the buyback rates. If you would rather not sell, then the online buyback site can give you links to the SlugBooks Student Exchange program on Facebook, which lists the copy of the book so you can exchange it with another student.

This feature is excellent for students who would like to exchange books, and if they are nearby to each other, it can seriously save them all costs of renting or buying the book.

If you did not know about the exchange option, kindly investigate it in your college so that you can be directed to the nearest exchange centers on your university.

Reasons why used textbooks are much better than brand new ones

They are cheaper

This is, of course, true. You cannot compare the cost of a new textbook to the cost of renting an old one. As a college student, one of your main goals should be to save as much money as you possibly can, as there are way too many expenses.

University book stores may offer you as much as 25% off on new books, but online used books prices whether for rental or buying are always way much lower. These two are incomparable because the online store is too low.

On some occasions, you may even find a second-hand book going for as low as $1, while a brand new edition of the same author costs almost $200.

Don’t judge the book by its cover

Well, the old and used book will certainly look old and probably the cover may be tattered, but don’t let this decide for you. The inside of this book is in pristine condition, and the pages will provide you with the information you need.

If you find a used book with all its pages and it is still readable, then, trust me, there isn’t any difference between the used book and the brand new one. The condition of the cover or the fact that it has got a few bent pages shouldn’t decide for you on buying or not.

What should help you decide is the ability to read the pages, do your homework and of course, save as much money as you can.


Buying a used book that has key passages highlighted should be a gift for anyone that buys it. This is because anyone that owns a highlighted textbook has a blueprint for success. I will explain;

The parts that have been mapped out by a previous owner gives you a leakage of where you should put most emphasis on as you read. As long as they did not highlight everything in the book, getting a book with some parts highlighted is a great idea.

Sell-back value is identical

After the semester of using the wear and tear is over, a new book will look the same as the used book, and the value of both the new and used could be identical, which means that there was really no reason for you to purchase a brand new one if it will end up looking just like the use one, and cost the same.

Why pay a premium if you are going to end up with the same book after all?

The longer the book is in circulation, the cheaper its used copies shall be

Due to the economies of supply and demand, a specific textbook may no longer be in circulation, and hence, people will not need it as much as they may have been in the beginning.

If this is the case with the textbook that you wish to purchase, then the used copy of the uncirculated book will be way much cheaper, and at some point, students could be selling the book more than buying it. This will cause the price to go way down.

The more expensive the book looks, the more you shall be able to save by purchasing a used one.

Well, the adage says that “don’t judge a book by its cover,” and this is probably because everybody does.

We all want to read a brand new, bright-colored, and beautiful book. If the book you are looking for looks great and is probably as expensive as it seems, then, you shall be able to save more by buying a used one, because the brand new one is probably way too expensive.

Shipping of used books is very fast

Cheap textbooks that have been bought and sold on the internet for many years always have the lowest shipping cost and the quickest shipping time. One way to ensure that the shipment is expedited even faster is to ensure that you order from marketplace sellers in the state that you reside in. The closer the location, the faster the delivery, of course.

Used doesn’t mean dirty

You may be surprised to find that used textbooks are often just as clean as the brand new ones. They do not have that awful new book smell either, and the sharp pages that can easily cause paper cuts. As mentioned earlier, all you need to ensure is that the used book is readable and contains all of its pages.

International editions

Sometimes you may have the opportunity to buy an international edition of a textbook. Technically these books are not permitted to be resold, but many online sellers will distribute them anyway.

If you find someone selling an international edition, it will be noted in the description of the book. These are usually great and amazing because they have the same content as a non-international version, and they are available at a much lower price.

In addition, you can end up purchasing both the international and non-international books and spend your time comparing the information, and since they are used books, they will be affordable for you.

The only difference you may find with an international version is that it may be paperback instead of a hardcover, and the content may be printed in black and white instead of colored, and these are cosmetic reasons.

Instructor editions

The teacher’s edition, just like the international edition, is usually prohibited for resale, but of course, some websites will sell them to you at a lower cost. The teacher’s editions often come with a complete solution to homework at the back, which most students love, and they also give you additional insights throughout the chapters that can help with the subject matter greatly.


SlugBooks provide you with a powerful way of comparing prices of books online. They also offer students the ability to buy unaffordable books.

It is a consistent, effective, and useful tool that all students should use when purchasing textbooks. You do not need to buy brand new books, and if you think about it, you will be required to buy a new book at the start of each academic year. Is it worth it?

The student exchange option is also perfect when you are looking for someone to exchange a book rather than buying or renting. I believe this is the best part of SlugBooks, since every year, while others ahead of you are looking for the next books, you will be looking for what they currently want to get rid of.

Amazon book rentals is also an option you can use to buy or borrow used books.

Similar Posts