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The Best College Textbook Stores

Where Can You Find the Cheapest College Textbooks?

Picture this: Emma is a sophomore majoring in Economics. A new semester is approaching, and she's been handed her list of required readings. Instead of braving the long lines at the campus bookstore and potentially paying high prices, she turns to online college textbook stores.

In a matter of minutes, she's located every textbook she needs, some at heavily discounted prices or even available for rent. Not only does she save money, but she also saves time, making her semester preparations smooth and hassle-free. Right on, Emma!

Monday, February 26th

2024 College Textbook Store Reviews

Knetbooks Review Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award 5 Star Rating

Knetbooks

5 Star Rating Top Consumer Reviews Best-In-Class Blue Ribbon Award

Founded in 2009, Knetbooks quickly gained popularity by offering low prices and a user-friendly textbook rental process. With a wide selection of rentals, faster shipping, and improved customer support after being acquired by a major textbook retailer in 2011, Knetbooks remains committed to their mission of making college more affordable. They have saved over $46 million for more than 400,000 students. They not only offer free standard shipping, but also prepaid return labels. You can highlight in your rental textbooks and extend your rental period at any time. Knetbooks has received thousands of positive reviews for their ease of use, fair pricing, and effective service.

eCampus Review 4.5 Star Rating

eCampus

4.5 Star Rating

eCampus, established in 1999, is a trusted online platform for purchasing, renting, or selling textbooks. They offer a Price Match Guarantee against two specific competitors, competitive rental rates, and an exclusive Marketplace for third-party sellers. eCampus also has free shipping for orders over $35, a rewards program, and an "A+" from the BBB. With top-notch reviews and a firm reputation, eCampus stands out as a leading choice in the college textbook resale industry.

Valore Books Review 4.5 Star Rating

Valore Books

4.5 Star Rating

Valore Books, an online marketplace established in 2002, specializes in affordable textbooks for students, with over 20,000 sellers and competitive pricing. The website has features like seller-friendly policies, price-matching on rentals, and an average annual saving claim of $500 for students. They receive high marks for customer service, evidenced by an "A+" grade from the Better Business Bureau, and positive customer feedback on delivery and pricing. Overall, Valore Books is highly recommended for students seeking inexpensive college textbooks.

Textbooks Review 4 Star Rating

Textbooks

4 Star Rating

Textbooks has been in business since 2006 and is designed for students, parents, readers, and tech enthusiasts. Their strong points include 90% off retail prices, free shipping on orders over $25, and a Guaranteed Cash Back feature. With over 10 million books in stock, Textbooks provides a wide selection for budget-conscious students. They have high inspection standards for used textbooks and buyback quotes that are locked in for 30 days. Despite some issues with search functionality and eTextbooks that could be improved, Textbooks is dedicated to serving its community and offers value and reliability to its customers.

Chegg Review 4 Star Rating

Chegg

4 Star Rating

Chegg was started in 2005 as a textbook rental service and is now a multi-faceted educational resource, offering services like online tutoring, homework answers, and scholarship searches. The website has an easy-to-use search function for textbooks for rent or purchase, a generous return policy, and they allow highlighting in rented books. Chegg will replace your textbook at no cost to you if you're not satisfied with the quality, and they have a buyback program for used textbooks. Despite a previous data breach, Chegg is still a popular option for their variety of services and competitive prices.

TextbookX Review 3.5 Star Rating

TextbookX

3.5 Star Rating

TextbookX has been in business for over 20 years, offering students course materials at low prices. They achieve this by combining their own inventory with that of third-party sellers. With an extensive selection of new, used, digital, and rental books, TextbookX provides students with various options. They also go beyond textbooks, listing school supplies, best-selling books, magazines, study guides, and more. Students can benefit from features like free shipping on orders over $49, year-round buyback opportunities, and a wide range of academic materials. Overall, TextbookX is a reliable choice for college textbook needs, with positive customer reviews and a strong BBB rating.

Amazon Review 3 Star Rating

Amazon

3 Star Rating

Despite not specializing in textbooks, Amazon's vast inventory, quick delivery, and competitive pricing make them an appealing place to shop. They provide options to purchase and sell used textbooks, although they no longer support the option to rent them. While their search function for textbooks may not be the most efficient, Amazon makes up for it with potential savings of up to 90% on used textbooks and up to 49% on new ones. You can make some money selling your own used textbooks here, too. Like most things you could possibly want to buy online, textbooks are definitely an option worth considering at Amazon.

BiggerBooks Review 2.5 Star Rating

BiggerBooks

2.5 Star Rating

BiggerBooks, a player in the textbook field since 2001, offers features like daily coupons, various rental periods, and a buyback program, but falls short on competitive pricing and customer satisfaction. Their Daily Deal and email list promise savings, yet a price check revealed higher rates compared to competitors, even for rentals. The buyback option is strict; books not meeting guidelines are destroyed, not returned. Free shipping starts at $59, returns incur a restocking fee, and supplemental materials aren't guaranteed. Multiple low-star reviews cite unfulfilled orders, leading to a below-average ranking for BiggerBooks.

eFollett Review 2 Star Rating

eFollett

2 Star Rating

eFollett, also known as Follett, is like an online extension of a campus bookstore, teaming up with them to provide textbooks, apparel, and school supplies tailored to specific institutions. You pick your school, get redirected to its specific bookstore site, and see books relevant to your courses. While there are advantages like the ability to pick up books on campus, the company has a shaky reputation. Numerous customer complaints include missing orders, books damaged by the rain, and unresponsive customer service. Moreover, their Access Program has faced criticism for auto-charging students without clear opt-in. Despite potential minor savings, the overall customer satisfaction leaves much to be desired here.

Pearson Review 1 Star Rating

Pearson

1 Star Rating

Pearson+ is a subscription service referred to as the "Netflix for textbooks." For $10.99 a month, students gain access to over 1,800 eTextbooks and study materials, including flashcards and audio tools. However, the catalog only includes textbooks published by Pearson, so students may still need to purchase resources from other publishers. Users have reported technical issues with the platform, such as clunky navigation and frequent logouts. Accessibility features and customer support have also received criticism. Despite the allure of affordable digital textbooks, students have found that the platform's glitches and unsatisfactory support make traditional textbook options more reliable. Pearson earns our lowest possible score.

Compare the Best Reviews

Continued from above...

Online college textbook stores have revolutionized the way students acquire their academic resources. These platforms offer a convenient, often cheaper, alternative to traditional brick-and-mortar stores. With just a few clicks, students can purchase new or used books, rent textbooks, or even access digital versions.

How much could you save? In some cases, students might spend over $1,000 per semester on required course materials, especially if they are studying in fields that require expensive textbooks or access codes for online resources. It's obvious that every penny counts, so why not take advantage of every possible way to get your textbooks for less money? You could cut that $1,000 in half (or even more) by skipping the school bookstore and opting to source your books online.

When choosing a college textbook retailer, it's important to consider several factors to be sure you get the best deal and the resources you need. Here are some factors to keep in mind:

  • Cost. How much does the textbook cost on this site compared to others? Look for competitive prices. Are there any special deals or discounts? It's always a win to save some money.
  • Selection. Does the website have the textbooks you need? Check if they offer both e-books and physical copies. It's best to have choices to fit your study style.
  • Shipping and return policy. Can they get your textbook to you before classes start? Consider shipping costs and speed. If the textbook isn't what you meant to order, is returning it easy? A good return policy can save you from headaches later on.
  • Access codes. Do you need an online code for your course? Some books come with codes for online materials. If buying used or renting, is the code still valid? Make sure you're getting everything you need.

Top Consumer Reviews has reviewed and ranked the best online stores to buy college textbooks, both secondhand and new. We hope these reviews help you get the books you need for school quickly and without spending too much.

The Best College Textbook Stores Compare College Textbook Stores Compare College Textbook Store Reviews What are the best College Textbook Stores Best College Textbook Store Reviews

College Textbook Store FAQ

You'll probably find a mixture of both. At some schools, you can choose whichever format you prefer (and, according to The New York Times, 50% of students prefer a print textbook!).
You won't be surprised to hear that books can be free, like certain open source online textbooks, but some can cost as much as $1,000 or more! The College Board recommends that students plan on setting aside $1,200 each year for textbooks and course materials.
Your campus bookstore will likely be selling the textbooks at full retail value, or maybe even with a bit of a markup. And, even if they offer used books, you'll be competing with everyone else at your school to get a copy. Shopping online lets you get the exact same books for the best available price.
Absolutely. Most online textbook stores make it easy to determine the condition of any title you need, and you can even get them in new or like-new condition - at a fraction of the price you'd pay for a brand-new text at your college bookstore.
That depends on the textbook store you use and how quickly you need the book. Many providers offer free shipping for economy shipping, with options to upgrade if you want to get it faster.
Yes! Both print and digital textbooks can be rented through many textbook stores. Be sure to read the terms and conditions before choosing the rental option: you'll want to know if you're allowed to mark up the book or save any of your digital notes, when your rental period will end, and any instructions you'll need to follow to return the textbook when the class finishes.
Most textbook stores know that students may buy a textbook they wind up not needing: classes get cancelled or dropped, the wrong edition is ordered, and so on. You typically have a risk-free return period of anywhere from 14-21 days from the purchase date, so you'll need to time your purchase carefully (ordering enough in advance that the title is available, but not so far ahead that you can't return it once the class starts).
Without a doubt. Some textbook stores have been in business for a decade or more, with excellent customer ratings and a strong reputation with the Better Business Bureau. Buying your textbooks online can save you a significant amount of money and hassle!
See the Best College Textbook Store
The Best Reviews of College Textbook Stores