Selling: One (1) Kidney for Textbook Money

Currently: blogging in D. Lam (to avoid reading the OB chapters) and craving a honey cruller donut from Tim Hortons.

I stopped by the bookstore in the summer armed with a booklist and a debit card, ready to breeze through the rumored “painful process”. Little did I know that I would soon be considering advertising kidney sales on my blog. I’m a pretty thrifty person so the price tags there were devastating to my soul. Instead of taking the easy way out and reserving my books, I decided to experiment a little and see how much I can save by buying my UBC textbooks elsewere (online mainly), despite not having ANY experience in textbook hunting (all you seasoned pros out there, feel free to send over more tips!)

Class Book UBC $ I paid $ Bought from
ECON 101 Princi. of Microecon 96.00 35.00 Facebook Marketplace
ECON 101 Lyryx card Incl. Bookstore, tbd ($35)
COMM 292 Org. Behavior 116.00 50.00
CPSC 111 Big Java 90.00 30.00 Saveonbook, prev ed.
HIST 237 Thomas Jefferson 20.00 0.00 Borrowing from library
HIST 237 Portia 23.00 0.00 Found free copy online
HIST 237 Sovereignty etc. 15.00 5.00 Facebook Marketplace
HIST 237 Frederick Douglass 7.00 0.00 Found free copy online
HIST 237 March to the Sea 33.00 12.00
TOTALS (w/ tax) 400.00 132.00

That’s a saving of over $250 (Mmm…shoes!) In addition to the above list, I did end up buying two costly textbooks from the Bookstore, so my total spendings were just under $400 (as compared to the $640 I would’ve spent).

List of resources I used and/or recommend

  1. Facebook Marketplace – great for local searches as it first displays results from your networks. Private message ensures privacy. Lots of haggling room available. Be sure to ask for notes for free.
  2. – UBC student’s “secret” tool. Pretty convenient since most people have their cellphone numbers on there. Another local resource and notes are usually thrown in. Lots of texts available!
  3. Craigslist – The somewhat “sketchy” corner of the internet… the search is a bit more difficult as a lot of SFU and BCIT books are mixed in.
  4. Bookfinder – This gives you a rough idea of how much the books are being sold online. Just enter the ISBN numbers and it’ll search the corners of the internet for you
  5. Amazon – A bit pricy than the local alternatives ($2 book, $15 shipping, grr!), but they usually have the right editions here. Used books option also available.
  6. Bookmeat UBC – Very minimalistic and organized website, no search option but browsing through courses is easy. Not TOO comprehensive. People who want to sell it go there and list their asking price, save % (GREAT feature), book condition, and contact info.
  7. UBC AMS Sub – “In the basement there is a massive wall filled with for sale textbooks!” (Thanks Andre!)
  8. – “Bigwords compares all the best textbook stores at once finding the sweetest, cheapest textbook deals on the planet” (Thanks Brian!)
  9. Friends/Family/Coworkers – seriously, ask EVERYONE if they have taken/know someone who have taken the courses you have. Turns out one of my coworkers had a few Econ books to give away from his BCIT days!

Hope this helps you on your book hunt, for next year least!

Read 29 comments

  1. I don’t understand why kids are still buying textbooks at the on campus stores. I search online all the time for my textbooks cause I mean you find the better deals that way by comparing prices from different vendors. I’ve found this site called that does pretty much most of my searching for me!! Its amazing it compares all the prices for me at once from a collection of different vendors online then it calculates the shipping cost to find the perfect deal for you. I think if more kids went to these other avenues and took the time to search for better deals they would show the publishers they weren’t gonna be takin it any longer.

  2. Wow. I have always been too lazy/desperate a person to search very far, partly because I have a passion for new books, but after my recent losses and your list of all these alternatives, I think I’m going to change my mind.

  3. @ Evan – I think a lot of students are choosing convenience over money. They must be subconsciously weighing the costs ($$$) and benefits (time) they receive from getting the textbooks from the UBC Bookstore (haha… can’t you tell I just finished reading econ?)

    @ Andre – Omgosh i loooove Quizlet! Thanks!

    @ Eastwood – I just updated a DAY or so ago *needs inspiration*

  4. So resourceful! I’ve kept my text hunt limited mostly to students selling books on campus over the years, that usually saves me tons (but of course, at the cost of time, arranging meeting times, etc etc.)

    I’ve learned some new avenues of search though, so thanks! Me likey linkies. I’ve yet to venture into the world of ordering online, so maybe that’s my wave of the future?! =)

  5. online is by far the best way to purchase textbooks nowadays. each semester i’m always surprised at how much money i am actually able to save by doing a little searching. so far i’ve found to have the cheapest textbooks. it usually only takes about 2-3 days for shipping as well. so if you know what books you need before the semester starts, you can go online purchase them and receive them before the first day of class. only way i purchase my textbooks nowadays.

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  7. there is only one site that you need to go to purchase your textbooks…! it searches all of the famous sites like amazon and half and will display the cheapest possible combinations including shipping. i saved $372 this semester alone

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  13. Thanks for writing this…I found most of my books for dirt cheap prices at….and that tip about Borrowing from th library…GENIUS! My only question is how many times were yo able to renew your book at the library?? were you able to keep the book for a whole semester?? and which library did you borrow from??

  14. ECON 101 Princi. of Microecon 96.00 35.00 Facebook Marketplace
    ECON 101 Lyryx card Incl. – Bookstore, tbd ($35)

    only works if your in lemche’s class…not for gatemans ( i learned the hard way)..BUY NEW IF YOUR IN GATEMANS!

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  18. I keep reminding students how much they can save (and reduce their loans by) if they rent books and are otherwise smart about their money. I hope freshmen are getting money management advice as part of orientation…many really need it.

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