Buying Books for College and locating Book Stores at Penn State

Different from the high school days, students will have to purchase their own text books while attending college. There are several different routes you can take to purchase your books including bookstores, student book exchanges, or sometimes you can buy extra copies from your professor. There are also several online bookstores that you can buy books for a fraction of the cost that you can on campus. Here at PSU Moms we have the inside scoop on buying text books including where to get the best prices and what to watch out for when buying and selling your books.

Book Stores in State College

Google Map The Got Used BookstoreThere are two big name book stores at the University Park campus that you should be aware of. The GOT USED book store, on the corner of Pugh Street and College Avenue, has an extensive collection and typically a knowledgeable staff.

Student Bookstore in State CollegeThere is also The Student Bookstore which is located on College Avenue as well also has every book that you will need for classes. The inside is also geared towards selling Penn State merchandise, books and school supplies. Both book stores also have a good selection of officially licensed Penn State clothing and football merchandise.

Lastly, the on campus Student Bookstore located on the bottom floor of the HUB building offers not only text books but the largest selection of novels, puzzle books, self help and educational books as well. It also has an impressive clothing selection. The bookstore in the HUB is actually run by Barnes and Noble so you can buy your student a Barnes and Noble gift card to help them pay for their text book expenses!

Getting the best value on college books

Books for CollegeWhen deciding on where to buy your books there is not really a large difference in price among the main bookstores but it is always good to comparison shop. Make sure that your student checks around the counter and on the outside of the building to see if there are any special sales going on. Every now and then during high volume book buying weeks, you can find promotional coupons worth 10% off, buy one get a second half off or sometimes more.

Another awesome tip for the GOT USED Book Store is that they typically give away coupon books in the beginning of the season with their sales. These coupon books are actually great sources of savings for restaurants and shops around Penn State University Park. We can almost guarantee you will use more than five of these coupons because they are for good places and offer great deals.

The College Book Buypack Period

College Book BuybackThe main difference between the bookstores lies at the end of each semester, also known as the 'buyback period'. Selling your books back is not only difficult but you are somewhat at the whim of what the bookstores want to pay. We have found that on average, The Student Bookstore on College Avenue pays the most amount of money for your used textbooks at the end of the semester. However, the GOT USED bookstore tends to have the most promotions, for example last year they sent coupons to students for an extra $10 on your buy back total.

The BEST place to buy books for college

Save money buying college books onlineThe best place to buy your books is at online used book sellers. You can find used books online for a fraction of what they cost in the bookstores. Some excellent places to start are,, or at The only thing you need to watch out for is edition numbers, lots of times professors will use The same text book each year however upgrade the eiditon. Other professors will use the same edition year after year, this is great for buying online because sometimes you can find old editions for as little as $1! Make sure you buy early so you can get the best price! It is not uncommon to be able to buy a $100 text book for under $20 online so this is your best route if it is at all possible.

Everyone has their own "secrets" on where to buy and sell their textbooks to get the best prices. Other PSU Moms would love to hear about them and so would we so share your ideas and secrets on the Penn State Moms Messageboard!