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Old 06-12-2014, 02:04 PM   #1
coinkc
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Best place to buy college textbooks?

My daughter will be a freshman in the fall. I know that there are some online places to buy/rent textbooks. Does anybody have any recommendations for sites to look at? She has already looked at the discount textbook store in the town where the college is located but just wants to check a few more places to find the lowest prices. Thanks for any help/advice!
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Old 06-12-2014, 02:09 PM   #2
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I buy (and rent) textbooks from Amazon. I also sell them back there or sell them through the marketplace when I'm through with them.
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Old 06-12-2014, 02:14 PM   #3
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We use Bookscouter for buying and selling at the end of the semester. They will tell you the best sites for buying the cheapest and selling for the most $$. Check Amazon too.
Also when buying if you know what books she will need, keep an eye on the prices for a few days, they do change from day to day.
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Old 06-12-2014, 02:15 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by coinkc View Post
My daughter will be a freshman in the fall. I know that there are some online places to buy/rent textbooks. Does anybody have any recommendations for sites to look at? She has already looked at the discount textbook store in the town where the college is located but just wants to check a few more places to find the lowest prices. Thanks for any help/advice!
Sadly the bookstore is most likely the highest priced option. DD's college bookstore is run by Barnes and Noble, and their prices are even higher than regular Barnes and Noble. If we "MUST" buy them at the bookstore, I try to buy B&N SCRIP - and then at least a percentage (9% IIRC) goes back to a fundraising effort that is near and dear to my heart.

Amazon has a used textbook marketplace. Textbooks.com also is an online place we've used. My DD has also sold books back to Amazon at the end of the semester without any issues at all. Then she gets a credit for Amazon.

DD has never wanted to rent textbooks.

The biggest college textbook scam is when there is "electronic content" involved with the textbook. Since the electronic content can only be used by one student, it cannot be "bought and sold" in the used textbook marketplace. And then you are sort of locked into purchasing the used book plus the electronic content at the bookstore or a new one.

You should be able to get the ISBN book number. You can plug this into google and the search results should be able to give you some options as far as places that might have the book. Chegg is a rental company I've heard good things about. Your bookstore may have rentals available, as well as e-books.

Does your DD's university have a "classified ads" kind thing for electronic posting? My DD's university has this on a facebook page, and people post used textbooks all the time. Try searching facebook on your DD's university name, and see if anything pops up.
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Old 06-12-2014, 02:20 PM   #5
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DD will be a junior this year and we have had great luck buying & renting online. It definitely pays to take some time, shop around, find the lowest price, then hunt for a discount code before you finalize the sale.

We have had good luck with the following but one store is not typically the lowest for all books. I would suggest a quick spreadsheet to note who you got it from, whether it is a sale or rental, and if a rental, when it is due back. We did not do this and I just got a small charge - I think a late fee that I will have to check w/DD to see if a rental got missed. We used rentals for the gen ed classes that DD knew she wouldn't want to keep the books.

Half.com
Amazon
Bigwords- comparison site, it will pull up several sites and prices.
Chegg.com
textbooks.com
Neebo.com

Also, be aware that companies can sell US or international versions of books. Sometimes international versions are ok and sometimes not. The pages and sections can be similar or completely different.

It seems like new companies come and go frequently. I trust all of the above but I would google any one you plan to use for reviews. We almost went with one unknown but they got horrible reviews.

Don't be surprised if a professor changes the book at the last minute or one is shown wrong on the syllabus. We try to buy before school starts to get better prices but not so far in advance that a rental has to be returned before class is over. But each semester, there has been a change to one book from what the college website gave us.
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Old 06-12-2014, 02:21 PM   #6
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College bookstores were historically the most expensive option, but that's not always true anymore. The bookstore at the University where I work is a non-profit division of the University and offers a comparison site and shows you what our bookstore charges, and also shows you what the same book costs at Amazon, rented through Chegg, and a bunch of other options. It surprised me at first how often our bookstore had the best deal. So it really just depends on how the bookstore is managed.

The comparison site they offer lists these alternatives, which may be worth checking out:

Half.com
Amazon.com
Bookrenter.com
Barnes & Noble
CourseSmart
Chegg.com
Textbookrentals.com
CampusBookRentals.com


Quote:
Originally Posted by clh2 View Post

Does your DD's university have a "classified ads" kind thing for electronic posting? My DD's university has this on a facebook page, and people post used textbooks all the time. Try searching facebook on your DD's university name, and see if anything pops up.
I think this is the cheapest option -- when a student network facilitates sales/swaps between students.
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Old 06-12-2014, 02:25 PM   #7
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This might be a stupid question but my DS will be a freshman this fall, how and when do when find out the books they say he needs?
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Old 06-12-2014, 02:27 PM   #8
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This might be a stupid question but my DS will be a freshman this fall, how and when do when find out the books they say he needs?
Has he registered for classes yet? The freshmen I work with won't register until July orientation, so we'll give them all that information then.

If he has registered, then how he gets this information will probably depend on the set up of the school. Most schools have some sort of electronic student services portal where students log in to register, view records, etc, and book information can often be found in there. It really depends on the school though. If he hasn't been to orientation yet, he can ask the question then.
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Old 06-12-2014, 02:32 PM   #9
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I like knetbooks
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Old 06-12-2014, 02:41 PM   #10
cheerful chickadee
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pryncess527 View Post
Has he registered for classes yet? The freshmen I work with won't register until July orientation, so we'll give them all that information then.

If he has registered, then how he gets this information will probably depend on the set up of the school. Most schools have some sort of electronic student services portal where students log in to register, view records, etc, and book information can often be found in there. It really depends on the school though. If he hasn't been to orientation yet, he can ask the question then.

He has registered and will go to orientation in July, maybe that is when he will find out. thanks!
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Old 06-12-2014, 02:58 PM   #11
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I've used Chegg.com for my DD. They've been very flexible about delivery and return dates (she had a very late final this past semester.) They have also been prompt to provide a new book when a change in professor required a change in textbook. (In fact, they sent the new one before we ordered the old one back.)
They pre-pay postage and provide labels. You can specify the exact edition or use the ISBN number to be sure you get the correct edition. So far I've been very happy with them.
Hope this helps.
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Old 06-12-2014, 03:03 PM   #12
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My DS is a senior in a state collage. At his school, the book store prices are well above anyone else prices. There have been a few things he can only get there such as local professor written books. Most he has rented through Chegg. There have been a few books that he has decided to purchase after the class and he can then just pay for them instead of returning them. Renting is easy and for us MUCH cheaper. My DN is at another state school that has there own rental program. The pay a modest book fee and then get all their books from the school and use and return at the end of semester. they can choose to buy the books at the end of the semester if they wish. When we went to freshman Soar, they presented purchasing the books that day as a special deal! They would give you 10% off! It ended up being close to a thousand dollars and tons of people were signing up. We knew better and came in at less than 200.00. Just be aware that the Soar programs presents only one option for many things when in reality there are many more!!
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Old 06-12-2014, 03:23 PM   #13
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I used half.com to both buy and then sell the books. It worked out very well.
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Old 06-12-2014, 03:28 PM   #14
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DH uses a combination of chegg, amazon and his university's bookstore for his grad school books. Basically wherever is cheapest is who's getting his business.
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Old 06-12-2014, 03:55 PM   #15
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My recent college graduate kids are here now and said chegg.com. Also, your student might want to wait until the first class. Often the professor change the books they want or if he really needs them.
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