You can buy used to cut the costs of textbooks.
As the cost of college tuition continues to rise, one added expense gets attention every August. textbooks. A 2014 U.S. Public Interest Research Group study found that about two-thirds of students surveyed had opted not to buy a textbook because of the high cost of books and supplies, which totals an average of $1,200 per year. Almost half had made decisions about which courses to take based on the prices of textbooks. This type of financial pressure has many students turning to textbook websites as a cheap alternative to campus bookstores.
Like the bricks-and-mortar stores, these sites offer a range of textbook services in addition to sales. Students can often make some money at the end of the term by selling textbooks back to the site, or directly to another student. Instead of purchasing new books, students can opt to buy used books or rent them for a semester. This greatly reduces the cost. although renting may not be the wisest decision if the textbook is needed for multiple classes over several terms. Beware, too, of added fees for late returns and excessive markings. Some popular textbooks are now available in electronic versions, which can be purchased or rented online. Many digital textbooks are not simply scanned pages, either. They allow readers to highlight sections, look up terms, watch explanatory videos and even form study groups with fellow students to share questions or notes.
New, used, rental and electronic textbooks can be acquired online through a variety of vendors, from big players such as Amazon and Barnes Noble to smaller sites built specifically around the textbook niche. Of course, prices vary from one website to another, so it pays to shop around before making a purchase. Beyond pricing, students should consider things like shipping and customer service. Here are four reliable sources for cheap textbooks, along with one prime target of student complaints.
This site emphasizes speedy delivery, and online reviews affirm it lives up to its name. A low $35 threshold to earn free shipping is an added bonus. TextbookRush sells, rents and buys back textbooks (but doesn’t deal in ebooks) and offers competitive prices, according to past customers. TextbookRush notably offers international editions, which are often cheaper and very similar to U.S. editions. The return window, in case you decide to drop a class, is a generous 30 days.
This site stands out by offering free shipping both ways, with no minimum purchase. However, prices may be a little bit higher than on other sites. so students should still shop around. Skyo specializes in rentals, sells new and used textbooks and rents electronic textbooks, as well. Online reviews indicate the customer service department is quick to respond and representatives take the initiative to address complaints or questions on third-party websites.
This site has a rewards program to encourage repeat shopping. Customers can buy or rent textbooks, rent digital books and sell books back to eCampus.com, with a 20 percent bonus if they opt to receive store credit. There is also a marketplace where students can purchase books from third-party sellers, often at a discount. Reviewers note the ease of navigation and rapid shipping, which is currently free for orders that exceed $59, although some customers report late deliveries, cancelled orders and poor-quality books.
This site has expanded to become more than just a bookseller, with resources such as homework help, but textbooks are still a core part of the business. Chegg sells and rents books, offers electronic textbooks and buys textbooks back from students who are through with them. Shipping is free with purchases of $85 or more. For students who procrastinate until the day before classes begin, Chegg offers one week of free access to the digital version of the required text. While many students say they’re happy with their experiences using the site, others complain of rude or unresponsive customer service and misplaced orders.
Skip: Valore Books
Customers enjoy the low prices this site offers, but that doesn’t make up for slow delivery times, poor customer service and problems associated with buybacks and rental returns, according to published reviews. Valore Books is a marketplace that connects students to merchants, rather than a direct provider, which perhaps explains some of the charges of unreliability. Delivery starts at $3.95, with no opportunity for free shipping.
The bottom line is that students have a lot of choices when it comes to saving on textbooks, so be sure to shop around .