The Renaissance writer Erasmus once summed up his life philosophy as follows: “When I get a little money, I buy books. If any is left, I buy food and clothes.” It is, I think, an honorable sentiment. Still, I think most students, no matter how much they treasure a good book, would like to be able to afford a Chipotle burrito as well. (Or a non-Chipotle burrito, if you want to be all contrarian about it.) Luckily, today’s book-buying climate makes it completely possible to purchase books, including school textbooks, without falling into languishment and/or bankruptcy. Here are some recommendations from a frequent textbook-purchaser and lifelong book-shopper.

Trinity Bookstore

Perhaps you’ve heard of it. Run by the good folks at Barnes & Noble, the campus bookstore, while sometimes on the expensive side, is distinguished by its convenient location and its dependency. All books for all classes are handily available here, and the shelves are helpfully divided by departments and course levels.

Half Price Books

In my experience, Half Price’s name is not entirely accurate””some of the books are sold at a little more than half-price, and some, to my eternal delight, are sold at a little less. They often have copies of the major, frequently used textbooks titles, although they may not always have the most current edition.

Also, take it from an English major: if you’re taking a literature course, this is a great place to purchase your books on the cheap. This is especially true if you’re reading “Death of A Salesman”””every Half Price I’ve visited has been overstocked with countless used and discarded copies of that great play. Poor, poor Willy Loman.

Cheever Books

A staple of the Alamo Heights area, Cheever Books is a home-grown operation that houses shelves upon shelves of used books. Cheever may be particularly useful if you’re looking for an obscure or out-of-print textbook. They also had a really impressive Emily Dickinson collection, but I’m afraid that’s been snatched up by yours truly.


Yes, “Neebo” sounds like one of Wall-E’s long-lost relatives, but it is also the name of  an extremely useful website. Neebo lets you rent and return books via the interwebs. Better yet, there’s free shipping for all rentals. Make sure you are timely with your returns, though; if you don’t get your book back on time, they charge you the full price of said book, which may make buying that Chipotle burrito a bit more difficult.


Whether it’s their considerable selection of used books or their conditional free-shipping deals for college students, Amazon is an invaluable aid to the textbook-shopper””and for good reason. Make sure to look into Amazon Prime, which offers plenty of money saving opportunites. Amazon has a very, very comprehensive selection, because they’re, you know, Amazon.

This little list is only the tip of the figurative iceberg. A quick Google search will reveal plenty of other companies, both on the internet and in the San Antonio area, who are willing to help you save money on textbooks. However, I’m quite confident the above list will help you make sure that “reading widely” is not synonymous with “spending heavily.”