There are free ways and there are low cost ways to buy college textbooks…I will explain both.
The first thing you can do is not buy a textbook. Go to class and you will find out right away the importance of having or not having a textbook. Believe it or not, you may even be able to get away with not buying one the entire semester.
You can always make friends and just annoy them constantly with borrowing their book. You could also borrow a different person’s book every week. Make new study friends!
If you decide not to buy a textbook, but think you may need it sometimes, get the textbook website address from someone who has the textbook already.
Barter your old books. What I mean is, let someone borrow your old book and you borrow theirs. It’s an even trade.
Ask someone to borrow their textbook and then copy all the pages. You should be able to make your copies for free somewhere on campus. If not, simply help yourself to an open copy room. I would only suggest this if you are dirt poor.
Check all the bulletin boards on campus. The only thing you should worry about is books that are ancient editions being sold by other students. If you need edition 8 and they are selling edition 3, it will not help you.
Ask the teacher if they are selling any of their old textbooks, as they often are. If you explain to the teacher how poor you are, they may even let you even borrow a book. It never hurts to ask.
There are also many websites to help you get the cheapest price online.
Keep in mind that a lot of websites offer the option of renting a book. It may be smart though to buy the book used and then resell it again on a bulletin board after your semester is over.
The first one I would suggest is craigslist.com. Keep in mind, that you need a recent edition of the book.
eBay.com sells textbooks also for cheap. You should make time for shipping, so plan ahead of time.
valorebooks.com/ offers discounted textbooks and they will soon also have the ability to rent out books.
campusbooks.com/ also offers the chance to rent books or you can buy them online.
Some other options online stores to check out are…
There are also online sources like wiki that are starting to offer free online textbooks.