2. Wait until classes start. Sometimes, on that first day of class, the professor will tell you if you actually do or do not need your textbook. If they don't, just ask. Chances are you weren't the only person to wait and aren't the only one with that question. Also, try finding someone who has taken the class before and ask them the frequency of textbook use.
3. Don't buy retail. Seriously, whatever you do, don't buy them from your school. There are tons of other places to buy them from where you don't have to pay full price. What ever you do, avoid big name stores such as Barnes & Noble.
Grab your ISBNs and look here: Slug books, Abe Books (My favorite! I've gotten books here crazy cheep!), eBay (Don't be afraid to try bidding.), Amazon.
4. Buy used books. If you don't mind, just buy used books. They're cheaper, plus you get someone else's thoughts and notes! Usually people don't destroy books, maybe just some highlighting. You can get these at your school bookstore, or online.
5. Try out ebooks. Do you have an iPad? an eReader? Check out your ebook options. Sometimes schools will even offer that option. Ebooks are usually cheaper (sometimes even half the price), and you can cary them around without nearly the size!
6. Rent your books. The best place to rent books? Chegg. They have great prices and always send you little extras in your boxes that are super useful for college students. (RedBull anyone?) You can also rent textbooks from Amazon and from your school, but I have found that Chegg has the best prices.
7. Share with someone else. Last year, my roommate and I shared a chemistry book. We had 2 different professors and mine didn't use it nearly as much as hers, so I just grabbed hers when I needed it (almost never). But maybe you know someone who is going to be in the same class as you, ask if they want to share a book (and the cost). And bonus, you have a built-in study buddy,
8. Don't buy them. Now, stay with me here. Most professors keep copies of their textbooks in the library. Usually you can't take them out of the building, but hey, free textbooks. This is an especially good option for professors who use their textbook only a handful of times throughout the semester.
9. Trade with someone. Check out this website, which takes care of everything for you (and it's free!). Or, trade with a friend of yours. Is she taking a class that you took last semester? Are you taking a class that he took last year? Swap books! Does your class have a Facebook page? Post on that with what you have an what you're looking for. Same thing for Craig's List.
Happy buying all! Try not to hate textbook buying. I know they can be expensive, but if textbook buying leaves a bad taste in your mouth then starting the year won't be as great as it could be. Enjoy your new books!