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      December 15, 2017

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College Textbooks

  1. Textbooks
  2. Chegg
  3. Campus Book Rentals
  4. Textbookx
  5. Textbook Underground
  6. Book Byte
  7. Valore Books
  8. eCampus

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College Textbooks Better Business Bureau Reliability Seal

Best Online College Textbook Stores

If you've stood in line at the college bookstore at the start of any college semester,you know the hassle of buying college textbooks. A semester's worth of college textbooks can cost hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars, hitting that bank account really hard.

However, a whole world of cost saving opportunity awaits on the internet today. Many college students are taking advantage of online college textbook stores. College textbooks can easily be purchased online for much less cost than you can find in a bookstore. College students can enjoy even bigger savings by renting college textbooks, buying used college textbooks, or even purchasing downloaded versions of college textbooks.

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2017

College Textbook Reviews

5 stars
Book Renter

BOOK RENTER Visit Site

Options:

Rent, Buy, or Sell

TopConsumerReviews.com Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award Book Renter is a California based company that's been in business since 2009. This savvy college textbook website allows shoppers to rent or buy new and used college textbooks. Book Renter will also buy back your used textbooks. Students can expect a savings of up to 80% at Book Renter, in addition to free shipping, 5 different rental period options, and a no-risk 21-day return policy. Book Renter currently holds an A+ Better Business Bureau rating.

The selection and prices of used college textbooks at Book Renter is impressive. We found a popular biochemistry textbook at Book Renter for a small fraction of the price of other companies reviewed. In this example it was only available new for $163.00 at another college textbook stores but Book Renter offered it for rent starting at $22.12. We also compared the price of renting a popular Human Resources college textbook and the price difference was significant. Book Renter had it for as low as $71.10, whereas another website offered it for rent at $122.09. This is extremely affordable over new textbook prices, as well as many of the other companies we reviewed.

At any time you can extend the rental period or buy the book in question. In addition, Book Renter does not require a membership to purchase textbooks. The 5 different rental terms available at Book Renter are extremely flexible and include 30 days, 45 days, 60 days, 90 days, and 125 days.

Questions may be directed to Book Renter via phone, email, or live online chat. You'll enjoy free shipping on orders over $25.00. Renters are allowed to write in, or highlight, any textbook they use without penalty.

Shoppers will find over 5 million college textbooks at Book Renter, as well as amazing rental prices, flexible terms, and customer friendly policies. The search engine is simple to use and effective. If you want to save big dollars on your college textbooks, Book Renter should be your first stop. They earn our highest rating.

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5 stars
Textbooks

TEXTBOOKS Visit Site

Options:

Rent, Download, Buy New or Used, Sell

Textbooks has created a website that allows the college student to find the right textbook at the right price, as easily as possible. With over 9 million textbooks to choose from and with up to 90% savings, Textbooks is a competitive company for purchasing college textbooks.

You're not required to have a membership to purchase books from Textbooks. You simply select your textbook and drop it in your shopping cart. If it's over $25, they will ship to you for free. When you're done with your book, Textbooks will buy it back and give you cash.

If you aren't interested in actually purchasing your college textbook, but want to rent it instead, Textbooks offers that option as well. You can rent your college textbook for the whole semester (125 days), the quarter (85 days), or 60 days. You can check out the website for more information about the fees associated with renting textbooks.

Textbooks also offers the option of downloading your textbooks through eTexts. eTexts are non-refundable, so you want to make sure you need the college textbook before downloading it.

If you purchase your college textbook through Textbooks, you have up to 30 days from the date on your shipment receipt to return any unused book in its original packaging for a refund. Textbooks believes in beating the competition in pricing through their Best Price Guarantee. Essentially, if you find another company directly selling the college textbook for a lower price, they'll match it - guaranteed. If you see a lower price being offered directly from another company within 24 hours of ordering from Textbooks, they'll refund you the difference.

Textbooks does a great job of offering a huge selection of college textbooks online to allow students to save money. Whether you want to buy, sell, rent, or download your college textbooks, Textbooks can meet your needs.

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4 stars
Chegg

CHEGG Visit Site

Options:

Rent, Resell

Chegg was founded in 2007, has been used by 18.4 million college students nationwide on 6,400 campuses. With over 4.2 million titles in their library, finding your specific book should not be a problem. For a student who rents all their books through Chegg, they saved on average $500 or more per year. Chegg has already helped save college students over $240 million dollars. Through a partnership with American Forests' Global ReLeaf program, every time a book a student orders a book from Chegg a tree is planted on their behalf. Chegg also offers the option to sell your used textbooks via their website, check out the website for more information.

Chegg offers three rental lengths: 60 days, quarter, and semester. There are no monthly fees, just the price of book rental. The due date is displayed when you are searching for your book and can be confirmed when you check out. If for some reason the rental due date is before the end of your semester, please contact Chegg and they will extend your rental. Books do not have to be received back to Chegg by your due date, the due date is the last day that your package can be dropped off and scanned at a UPS store or drop box. Remember, books that are dropped off on the weekend won't be scanned until Monday, so plan accordingly.

If the book is not received back by the due date, an automatic 15-day extension will be added to your account, you can select a longer extension period, appropriate fees will be applied. Fees vary per book, you must log into your account for more information about the fees assessed. If the book has not been received after the 15-day extension, you will be charged the full replacement fee and the book is yours to keep.

A 30-day money back guarantee is offered. Unopened, unused book must be scanned in at a UPS store within 30 days from the purchase date. Refunds do not include shipping and handling for the book sent, and $5 per book fee ($10 maximum) will be assessed for the return shipping.

Chegg is a solid choice if you are only interested in renting your college textbooks. We liked the flexible rental programs but wished they had purchase and download options to meet more students needs.

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3.5 stars
Campus Book Rentals

CAMPUS BOOK RENTALS Visit Site

Options:

Rent only

Campus Book Rentals specializes in renting college textbooks. The do not buy and sell books, they focus solely on renting and strive to rent textbooks better than anyone else. They started renting books in August 2007 and have rented to students on over 5,000 campuses nationwide. They pride themselves in having customer service that is second to none, having nearly every title you will look for, and shipping your books out on time to guarantee you will have them for the start of your class.

Different from the other rental companies reviewed, Campus Book Rentals sends a prepaid envelope with your order, so you when you are done with the book, all you have to do is drop it in the envelope, send it in the mail, and you are good to go.

Campus Book Rentals offers a no hassle 30-day money back guarantee. Any book returned to their warehouse within 30 days of the order being placed, will receive a 100% refund. Rental periods are for either semester (130 days), Quarter (85 days), or Summer (55 days). There is a 15-day grace period for returning your books, please check the website for more information on fees associated with late returns. There is a Loss/Damage Protection Program that is offered at checkout for your textbooks, offering you peace of mind if either one of those instances happen. Without it, you would be responsible to pay for the full price of the book if your book becomes lost or damaged.

Campus Book Rentals provides a solid return policy which is important when your class is cancelled or you decide to drop at last minute. We would have also liked more flexibility with book purchase, downloads and resell options. We did like the flexibility of the rental program.

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3.5 stars
Textbookx

TEXTBOOKX Visit Site

Options:

Buy New or Used, Sell

Textbookx is a subsidiary of Akademos, Inc, a Connecticut based online bookstore. In business since 1999 this company has a long history of selling books online at affordable prices. They also currently hold an A+ Better Business Bureau rating which reflects their commitment to customer service. Textbookx provides a host of new and used college textbooks and best sellers for those looking for the affordable prices on their books. They also offer the option to sell books via their marketplace option.

The selection of college textbooks is significant at Textbookx. The reason is that they stock their own books as well as use 3 different online partners to assist. The challenge for customers is that the policies and shipping charges vary based on who has the book in stock. Shoppers can expect free shipping, when spending $49 or more, but only when purchased from Textbookx direct. Otherwise, shipping is $4.96 per item when purchased from the marketplace.

We did a comparison of the cost of a commonly used anthropology book and found that the used price at Textbookx was cheaper than most but not all used online resellers. However, the cost to rent is much cheaper than the price to purchase, making Textbookx less attractive for those looking for the very best deal.

Textbookx does offer a buy-back program through their marketplace which essentially allows the student to offer the book if any company is interested. Textbookx does not directly buy used books from sellers but provides the avenue to sell to other companies. We must mention that Textbookx does suggest they have a book rental program. After further research we realized it's simply a link to CampusBookRentals and not their own program. Our search efforts only provided results to buy new or used books.

A downside to dealing with Textbookx is their lack of direct customer service support. Questions may only be directed via email or fax, which means a student urgently awaiting their textbook will potentially struggle to get a quick answer.

While Textbookx and its parent company have a long and strong history this website lacks many of the student friendly bells and whistles we were looking for. Their used textbook pricing appears to be decent, but if you are in the market for a rental program, this is not the website for you. We were also less excited that policies varied at Textbookx based on who actually provided the product. This could be confusing for those buying several books at once.

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3 stars
Textbook Underground

TEXTBOOK UNDERGROUND Visit Site

Options:

Buy or Rent, New or Used

Textbook Underground is an online bookstore, claiming to be the “quickest, cheapest, and easiest” method of finding college textbooks. Simply type a book's title, author, or ISBN in the home pages search function to find a textbook. If you're looking for a book without knowing specific information, no worries, you can also type in a category, i.e. chemistry. Either way, a selection of books will come up.

After finding the book in question shoppers have the option to buy used and save 25-50% off the cost of new textbooks (per the Textbook Underground website). While that statement may be accurate when pricing used versus new textbooks, when comparing used textbooks on Textbook Underground to its competitors, we found it difficult to nail down where to consistently find the best bargains. More times than not though, Textbook Underground did not have the lowest used textbook price on like items.

As stated above, this college textbook store also offers rentals. One added bonus when renting with them is that renters are encouraged to take notes, and highlight text, (within reason) in rented books. Because of this, Textbook Underground's rented textbooks “gain knowledge” from person to person. Supplemental materials (cd's, access codes, etc.) are not always returned with textbooks so they are not guaranteed when renting from Textbook underground.

Another nice feature with Textbook Underground is the no questions asked, 21-day return policy - a nice option if you need to change your course schedule or decide you don't need the book.

The breadth of overall selection is good on Textbook Underground, but their depth of stock may be lacking. Many selections we made while researching, especially new textbooks, were out of stock. At first our thought was this may be bad timing as this review occurred near the beginning of a college semester. But after seeing its competitors with more items in stock, that theory was proven incorrect.

Textbook Underground doesn't have as deep a selection as higher rated online textbook sellers and some prices may not be the lowest. They do, though, have some positives like the ability to take notes in rented books a good return policy. With that said, Textbook Underground would receive a higher rating from us with better selection of lower priced textbooks.

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3 stars
Book Byte

BOOK BYTE Visit Site

Options:

Buy New or Used

Book Byte started in 1999 as a home-based enterprise and prides itself today in still maintaining a family-style approach. Their motto is to provide you as the customer fast, honest and reliable service. We felt the "fast" was a little far stretched.

When purchasing your book, simply search for it online, select new or used (if available), add it to your cart and you should have it at your doorstep between 4-14 business days. This is a little longer than some of the other companies, so make sure you plan ahead to ensure you have your textbooks in time for your class.

If some reason you do not need your textbook, you have 14-days from the date you receive the book to return it to Book Byte for a refund, less shipping charges. If you received the wrong book and it was Book Byte's error you will receive a full refund, including shipping charges. Books must be in the same condition that you received them. Both new and used textbooks can be returned within 14-days.

When you have finished using your textbook, Book Byte will buy the book back from you. By simply logging on their website, inputting your ISBN number and Book Byte will give you a quote immediately. If you decide to sell your book back to Book Byte, they will pay the shipping costs to have the book sent to them. They will also send you your payment within 1 day of processing the transaction.

Overall, we felt this company lacked the selection, speed and options that most customers would be looking for. If you are really looking to save on book costs you'll want to choose a higher ranked company that provides rentals.

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2.5 stars
Valore Books

VALORE BOOKS Visit Site

Options:

Rent, Buy, Sell

For more than 10 years, ValoreBooks has used a marketplace model to connect students with textbooks at the lowest prices. What does this model mean? First and foremost, it means that ValoreBooks doesn't carry any inventory themselves. Instead, they allow individuals and businesses to list their books for sale or rent, and then ValoreBooks takes care of the details of the transaction - collecting the funds and passing them along to the seller.

Start by entering the book's title or ISBN on the main page, to quickly find what you need. Alternately, there are several book categories, such as Children, Art, and Fiction, that you can browse using the links at the bottom of the site.

You'll find prices on ValoreBooks to be extremely competitive, whether you're looking to buy/rent or you want to get the most money for your used textbook. In fact, the ValoreBooks guarantee includes a low-price guarantee if you find a lower price within 7 days of your rental. But, be aware that the fine print says that they will only match rental prices on three competitor websites. Digging around on the website, we did find that they offer a sellback price match as well, which doesn't seem to be limited to any particular competitors' websites.

Did you buy or rent a book that you need to return? ValoreBooks' policy is that you can return them for a refund within 30 days from your date of purchase. We thought this sounded very reasonable - until we started finding review after review that said that books often took weeks to be delivered. Looking at ValoreBooks' shipping options, they do clearly state that books shipped via Standard Mail may take up to 21 business days to arrive, which is more than a month. In that case, you wouldn't be able to return your book for a refund.

Another drawback to using ValoreBooks' services is that customers are responsible for return shipping costs, even if they were sent the wrong book. Several shoppers complained about this to the Better Business Bureau - where, incidentally, ValoreBooks maintained an A+ rating at the time of our review - and it looked like the customer service representatives responded quickly and appropriately with a refund of those shipping costs. However, if you've already waited weeks for your book, only to find out you've been sent the wrong one, having to fight to get a refund is not going to make you a very happy customer!

Overall, it seems that ValoreBooks eventually makes things right when problems arise. But, because of the marketplace model they use, it can often take a great deal of time and frustration to get the appropriate response from the seller and get a refund to the customer. This model also means that they can't guarantee that any textbook will still be available after the order is placed; several reviews criticized ValoreBooks for orders that were cancelled unexpectedly, often because the seller no longer had the book.

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2.5 stars
eCampus

E CAMPUS Visit Site

Options:

Rent, Download, Sell

eCampus has one of the most diverse online selection of textbook options including purchasing new, used and digital textbooks from eCampus directly; buying from sellers on their student marketplace, or simply renting your textbooks for the semester. You are also able to sell your used books through their textbook buyback program.

Buying, selling and renting textbooks directly from eCampus is a very similar process to the other companies reviewed. Find your textbooks by easily searching with the ISBN number, select New, Used or Rental, add the book to your cart, select your shipping preference (Free ground shipping for orders over $59), checkout and receive your books within a week. If you are selling your book, input your ISBN number in their system, they will provide you a quote and if you choose to sell through them, they will ship the book for free. Check the website for more details associated with buying, renting, and selling textbooks.

Books that are purchased through eCampus may be returned within 30-days of the shipment date for a refund (less shipping charges and a 10% restocking fee). Rental textbooks maybe be returned within 15-days of shipment for a refund less the same fees as purchased textbooks.

If you choose to sell through the Marketplace, your books become available for purchase through the eCampus website. eCampus will claim 15% of the sale when a book sells. In addition to the price of your book you will also receive a shipping credit to help cover your cost of shipping the book.

Books purchased through the Marketplace cannot be returned to eCampus. You must contact the seller directly through the website to see if returning the book is an option.

eCampus reminded us a bit of a textbook garage sale of sorts. With the busy life of a student, eCampus presents some challenges and costs when a class is cancelled or dropped. The restocking fee was expensive and could add up if the book was expensive. Selecting a higher ranked provider will create less stress when selling back or returning.

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Continued from above

If you're interested in saving money, online college textbook stores are the way to go. However, not all college textbook stores offer the same options, and some have a lot of fine print in their rental contracts that you may not notice.

There are a number of factors you should consider before making your next college textbook purchase. Some of these include:

  • Selection. Will you find the college textbook you're looking for quickly?
  • Return Policy. Can you end your college textbook rental agreement or return the textbook if the class is cancelled or dropped?
  • Options. Will you be able to rent, purchase, or sell your college textbooks as needed?
  • Prices. How do the college textbook rental and purchase prices compare to the competition?

TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best College Textbook stores available today. We hope these reviews help you save time and money finding the right college textbooks!

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