I personally rented my text books through Amazon Prime. You have to have a membership which I believe may be $99 a year but it more than pays for itself. You'll save tons of money by renting instead of buying textbooks that are not needed for your major. For those textbooks you have to buy you can still save money by shopping on Prime. Shipping is free as well.
Also, you can always buy used. You don't always need a brand new text book since the editions used from one semester to the next don't change often. Sometimes, the professor won't mind if you don't have the latest edition.
Last, you can always buy or rent your books electronically instead of hardcopy. This will save you money as well.
Hi Taylor, great question! Books can get so expensive! I would echo what others have said, renting is the way to go if you do not intend on keeping the books after your class. I frequently used Chegg or Amazon to find the books I wanted to rent. However, there were some books I wanted to keep; therefore, I preferred to buy them. In this case, many schools have Facebook buy/sell groups which are a great resource for finding cheaper textbooks. If you can't find your books anywhere else, use your university bookstore as the last resort, it is almost always the most expensive place to buy.
Also, if you know people who took the class before, ask if they even used the book. I had countless classes my first year where I spent hundreds of dollars on books only to have them sit around unused. If possible, email the professor or wait until the first day of class to see if you will need the book. Many of my professors would be honest and say you didn't need it!
I also know that there are a few open pdf websites that will provide you with an electronic copy of your book. https://libgen.lc/ is a website many college students access their books from. If you can't find your specific book through a site like this though, try doing a quick google search of your books title, followed by the word "pdf" (include the quotation marks, it helps narrow the search). Hope this helps!
In my personal experience as a college student I have found that the best places to get books changes from semester to semester. The best places used for textbooks was either amazon or Chegg. These two websites always provided the best prices and their prices were consistent. A smart thing to do before buying any textbook is to check with the professor to see if the book will actually be used in the class. My next piece of advice is to rent all your books unless it relates to your field of study or it is cheaper to buy. Also, if you can get a used version or an older version they are Usually a lot cheaper. Lastly, do not buy from your school bookstore unless you have to.
I normally rent books I do not intend to keep. In some cases you can find a used copy of an earlier edition of the book for fairly cheap. Another option would be to look for the loose leaf international version. Hope this helps.