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At the beginning of every semester, students anxiously head to their new classes to find out their course outline and get a fat list of textbooks they will need. Even hands-on classes that don't require a lot of writing or book studying usually require textbooks.
Whether you're in an automotive class, dance, physics, woodworking, English, or business analytics class, you'll probably need to buy textbooks. Gone are the days of having to hunt these textbooks down store by store, waiting in huge lines, and paying outrageous prices without being able to compare costs with other retailers.
Friday, August 19th
There is almost nothing you could possibly imagine that Amazon does not sell on their website. They are one of the biggest online retailers in the world because of their fast delivery, wide inventory selection, competitive pricing, and ability for customers to read and leave reviews on products. Amazon's textbook selection is extensive. Buyers can purchase textbooks outright on this site, rent, and sell them. Amazon is not only a great place to buy college textbooks, but it is one of the best places to sell them as well.
Thousands of college textbooks
Amazon has thousands of textbooks for sale on their website. There are a few ways to quickly find the books you are looking for. You can use their search bar function, which is great if you already know the exact name of the book and edition.
If you are looking more broadly at your options, they have the following categories of books to choose from:
Variety of formats
The textbooks you find on Amazon often come in many formats. Some of these formats include Kindle, audiobook, hardcover, paperback, MP3 CD, loose leaf, and more. You can get a peek inside any given book to make sure it is what you are looking for. From the same page you can buy textbooks and view a sample of the inside, you can sell that exact book as well. Amazon makes it so easy to create a listing, manage your orders and inventory, and ship any rented books or books that you've sold.
Returning textbook rentals
Simple guides are available for students to walk them through returning textbook rentals. Amazon works hard to make sure their customers are satisfied and able to easily navigate their website and processes. You can find out how to return your books, but also how to extend rentals. This is helpful if you are using a test prep book and realize you need some more time to study than your allowed rental period.
Amazon boasts that when you buy college textbooks on their site, you can save up to 90% on rentals, 90% on used books, 60% on eTextbooks, and 49% on new books. On top of this, students get free Amazon Prime accounts, meaning their purchases qualify for free, 2-day shipping. Buying from Amazon is about as affordable and fast as it gets.
There are a million and one reasons Amazon is a great place to shop. When it comes to college textbooks, it could not be easier to compare prices and find the most affordable options. Customers have 30 days to send back items purchased from Amazon for a full refund. This should give students enough time to make sure they purchased the correct book and will be using it for their classes. We highly recommend browsing Amazon's inventory of textbooks next time you're in the market for one.
Campus Book Rentals was founded by a student in 2007 who experienced overpriced textbooks for school and wanted to create a way to help other students get books they need at an affordable price. They have over 2 million units of inventory in both new and used college textbooks. They also provide the option to buy some of the textbooks they have.
Searching for textbooks
To search the textbooks available at Campus Book Rentals, you can either enter the ISBN, title, or keywords. To save you a lot of time, you can search for all your textbooks at once if you know the ISBN for each of them. Right away you'll be able to view a picture of the book, the ISBN number, author, and publisher. Pricing for rentals and buying are also displayed.
Prices at Campus Book Rentals are very affordable. They vary slightly depending on the chosen due date, but usually only by about $1 - $2. They also give an option to purchase the textbooks outright. Interestingly, sometimes buying the book rather than renting is a better deal. Depending on the textbook, they might offer to sell it new or used. It seems most prices are around $10 - $25 for any given book.
Selling college textbooks
Selling college textbooks to Campus Book Rental is a fairly simple process. You'll add the ISBN number of the book(s) you want to sell, provide an address for them to mail you a check, and print a prepaid shipping label. You'll use this label to mail your book into Campus Book Rentals. This is a good option for any students with old textbooks laying around that they purchased for previous classes.
The Better Business Bureau gives Campus Book Rentals an A rating. Their website is sleek, easy to use, and definitely an affordable option for students. Their 21-day unconditional refund guarantee makes it fairly risk-free to get textbooks here. We aren't sure that they will have all the books that a student might be looking for, but since it is so inexpensive to rent from this store, we recommend checking them out next time you need to obtain a college textbook.
Since 2005, Chegg has been an all-around resource for students who need textbooks, study prep help, or even internship and scholarship options. The idea is just to get students on the road to success in whatever way they can. Chegg primarily rents out the college textbooks they have so that students can save as much money as possible.
To find the books you need on Chegg, simply type the author's name, book title, or ISBN into the search bar on the home page. You'll be provided a list of matches with pictures of the book so you know you've found the right one. Most of the textbooks can either be rented, viewed online (eTextbook), or purchased. No matter the format, Chegg allows students to highlight their books, just not write in them. Renting is usually the most affordable option, but sometimes the eTextbooks are cheaper. Keep in mind that the eTextbooks are also just for rent. You won't be able to permanently keep any of the online material from the ebooks.
The cost of eTextbooks and purchasing books varies from about $49.99 - $100. Renting usually falls between $10 and $20, which is a great deal for college textbooks. For purchases over $30, customers qualify for free shipping. They also have the option of signing up for a free 4-week trial of "Textbook Solutions" where Chegg provides step-by-step solutions for thousands of textbooks as well as access to millions of questions posted by students and solved by Chegg experts. After the free-trial, students can continue using this service for $14.99/month.
Good return policy
Chegg realizes that students rent books and then switch classes or that they aren't needing to use their textbook as much as they thought. They have a 21-day risk free return policy in place just for this (unless you opt for the eTextbook, where there is a 14-day return policy). For textbooks you use for classes, the due date is listed on the product page used to make purchases.
Chegg has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau. However, an alert has been posted letting users know that they experienced a data breach that included leaked names, email addresses, shipping addresses usernames, and passwords. Luckily, there was no financial information stolen that they are aware of, but they are urging existing members to change their passwords if they have accounts through Chegg. For new users to this site, this should not be an issue.
Very good choice
Overall, Chegg is a very good option for college textbook rentals because of their great pricing. What stands out more than just their textbook rentals are all the other services that Chegg provides. We highly recommend checking out the tutoring, test prep, scholarship, and internship searches they have available here in addition to their textbook selection.
ECampus launched in 1999 after they received funding from investors like Wendy's founder Dave Thomas, Long John Silver's founder James Patterson, and George F. Valassis, who created free-standing inserts that revolutionized the coupon industry. They aim to be a premier retailer of new, used, and electronic college textbooks that students can either rent, buy, or sell back. ECampus' mission is to set the online industry standards for savings, selection, convenience, and customer service.
If you need more than one or two books, you'll be spending over $35, which is great because it means you'll qualify for free shipping. At the time of this review, they were running a discount where customers can text a number and receive $5 off their total purchase of textbooks. Prices for college textbooks vary a bit more on eCampus than we have seen with some other textbook retailers. Most rentals are between $25 and $100, which is more expensive than you can usually find elsewhere. Prices for buying new used, or eBooks are listed alongside rental costs.
An "ewards" program is set up for customers to earn reward points that can be used toward future purchases. It's as easy as providing an email address. Points can be earned by referring friends to eCampus, following eCampus on Twitter, and making purchases online. For someone just starting school, joining the eCampus ewards program is a good way to save on textbooks for future semesters.
Returns for any reason
Textbooks can be returned to eCampus within 25 days of purchase for any reason. In addition, if a rental due date is coming up and a student needs to extend their use of the books they have, they can do this online at any time. Navigating the website for returns, rental extensions, or purchases is straightforward at eCampus.
Mostly good feedback
Customers have mostly good things to say about their experience with eCampus. Some students claim they found great deals on their site, ordered a textbook, but never received it. Others say that when they receive their books, they are badly damaged. There are more good things than bad though, and it is not uncommon to hear from students that the process of ordering college textbooks through eCampus was quick and easy. The Better Business Bureau gives them an A rating, so we feel comfortable recommending them as an option for textbook rentals and purchases.
Overall, eCampus seems to work hard to make their website user-friendly for students and provide them with a big inventory of textbooks. We highly recommend taking advantage of the ewards program if you decide to get college textbooks here because their pricing is a bit more expensive to rent than some of our higher-rated sites.
Textbooks started selling books direct-to-consumers in 2006. Their inventory includes over 10 million textbooks. In addition to the physical book copies that are mailed to you, eTextbooks are available as well. Used books are hand-inspected before they are shipped out to make sure no pages are missing and the book is in satisfactory condition.
To browse the collection of books on Textbooks' site, you can use the search bar function. You'll be taken to pages of results showing the book covers, names, editions, ISBN, and "starting from" price. Some college textbooks have different pricing options depending on if they have copies available in new, used, and/or eBook formats. Books labeled "Guaranteed Cash Back" mean that when you buy the book and sell it back to Textbooks, you are guaranteed to get 50% cash back based on what you paid for it.
3rd party sellers
If you scroll to the bottom of the product page, some books have other third-party sellers who are vetted through Textbooks and sell the book for varying prices in varying conditions. These books ship directly from the marketplace seller and not from Textbooks, so be sure to see where it is shipping from, because Textbooks cannot guarantee delivery dates. The Marketplace might be a good option for some customers if they are able to find better prices than Textbooks'.
Textbooks claims to have the "best buyback in the business." When you sell your books to them, they will get you a quote within 30 days and pay the return shipping. Simply add the ISBN(s) to their online form to submit the books you want to sell. Once you have received a quote, lock it in by printing the return label and sending in your book(s) within 30 days.
When you spend $25 or more at Textbooks, you'll get free shipping (excluding marketplace items). For orders less than $25, shipping will range from $3.99 to $19.98. If customers need to make returns for any reason, they have 30 days to receive a full refund (minus shipping). It will take up to 2 weeks to receive your money back after returning your textbook(s).
Textbooks has an A+ rating on their Better Business Bureau profile. We like that they make it so easy for customers to sell their college textbooks and find books at varying price points. Rental options at some of our higher-rated sites seem to be a less expensive option than what can be found at Textbooks, which is why they have earned an average rating from us.
Textbook Solutions was started in 2007 by two Texas A&M graduates who wanted to help students find a solution to the fact that college textbooks were getting more expensive and harder to find. Textbook Solutions is a nationwide book rental store that aims to help students save money on books they need for school. While they primarily focus on renting out books, a few of the college textbooks available online are also for sale.
Like most other textbook websites, customers can search for the books they need by title, author, or ISBN. When the results page pulls up, we don't like that very little information is given unless you select a book and go to its individual product page. You have to view each book to see the prices. This took extra time because we found many books listed were unavailable, so we weren't even able to see how much it would have cost to buy or rent them anyway.
Many textbooks unavailable
Most rentals (if they were available) seemed to fall between the price range of $20 and $65. Obviously, these costs will range based on the topic, size of the book, edition, and other factors. What we were most disappointed to find was that the inventory at Textbook Solutions seems weak. More often than not, books were unavailable - meaning they either don't carry it at all or there are very few copies out there. This is hard if even one class at one university used Textbook Solutions because only a few students would be able to get their hands on the necessary reading material.
21 day refund period
For those who receive their college textbooks and either change classes or realize they don't need their book for class, Textbook Solutions has a 21-day refund period from the time books are purchased. Refunds are processed in 1-2 days and include everything except for the shipping costs.
Regardless of our concerns about the slim product selection at Textbook Solutions, the Better Business Bureau gives them a favorable A+ rating. Students report that when they have used Textbook Solutions, their books arrived faster than they expected and were in good condition. It sounds like for those who are able to find the books they need, the services from Textbook Solutions are great.
There is more than just college textbooks at Valore Books. They also list comics, children's books, humor books, pet books, travel books, and more. The "About Us" page on their website is broken, but based on their Better Business Bureau profile page where they earn an A+ rating, it looks like they have been in business over 16 years.
Valore Books advertises that when you shop with them you save up to $500 per year. Customers can choose to either buy or rent their college textbooks from Valore. Since a lot of their inventory comes from third-party sellers, Valore Books is essentially a middleman. For any given book, there are usually options to buy it used, new, rent it, or buy an alternate edition. Since some sellers on the marketplace are willing to offer low prices on their books, sometimes it is less expensive to buy your books here than to rent them.
Pricing varies widely
Pricing in general is all over the map at Valore Books because any given book might be available in so many different conditions. Shipping is always an additional cost to be considered, and unfortunately it is not free here. The product listings all tell how much shipping will cost from a particular seller. It is usually about $3.95 for standard shipping.
Since anyone can sell their college textbooks at Valore, we like that sellers have to provide comments and a description of the book. Customers can see if it is new or used, the condition it is in, where it ships from and the method used, the provider rating, and comments about the book. Some comments might include if there is highlighting on the pages, tears on the cover or inside, if it is a hard or soft cover book, and if access codes or other material is included.
30 day refunds
Valore Books has a 30-day no-questions-asked return policy. Refunds are processed within 5 business days. For rentals, if students find their books at a lower price elsewhere within 7 days, they will refund the difference. To contact customer service about a competing product or for answers to questions, a contact form is provided. Ideally they would at least give a phone number for customers to call, but instead you'll need to wait for them to reach out to you once a message has been sent.
Fun place to look
Valore is a fun place to look for books of any kind, but we wouldn't say they are the best for college textbooks. Our higher-rated sites specialize in just providing students with college textbooks and have customer service teams readily available to assist with rentals and purchases. Because of this, we suggest using a different textbook retailer as your go-to for buying, renting, and/or selling your college textbooks.
TextbookX has a goal to find students the lowest prices for their course materials. They are owned by Akademos, Inc., a company that operates online college bookstores and provides college textbooks, educational materials, and other student resources. They receive an A rating from the Better Business Bureau.
Mixed customer feedback
Customers who have shopped through TextbookX generally have good things to say about their customer service. More recently, however, students have reported issues with their orders not shipping, or receiving the wrong books. Other feedback from customers is positive, saying that they had a smooth experience and felt well taken care of. We recommend reading through the company's policies to make sure there is a clear understanding of how refunds, shipping, and exchanges work before ordering.
Dissapointing refund policy
We will save you the hassle of looking into all the fine print at TextbookX and spill it here. Items purchased from the marketplace through TextbookX cannot be returned to the company because they are bought and shipped through third-party sellers. Some books are also marked "non-returnable" and those can't be sent back either. As long as customers return their other materials within 30 days to TextbookX in new condition (no scratched off access codes, wrappers left unsealed), the return is eligible for a refund minus a 10% restocking fee. We are not a big fan of restocking fees in this case, since it makes it harder for students who add/drop classes or realize they didn't need their college textbook after all. It's not a good way to genuinely help students save money.
Easy to search
To find a textbook for sale, customers search by ISBN, author, keyword, or title. A list of products will appear and show the pricing options right away. Titles might be available as a brand new purchase, used, and or through the marketplace (third-party sellers offering their used books at different price points). It is an easy process that operates similarly to many of their competitors.
Selling your textbooks
Students have the option of selling their college textbooks through the marketplace operated by TextbookX. To do this, visit the website, go to the "Sell" page, and follow three steps:
We have two main hang-ups with TextbookX. The first is the fact that they don't rent books, so students will likely be paying more here no matter what. The second is the restocking fee for any books that are returned for any reason. These two things together make TextbookX seem like a less affordable option, so they have not earned our highest rating. We do think their customer service is helpful for students and it's nice that they have a marketplace to sell books back, but we don't see how they stand out above our higher-rated college textbooks retailers.
Textbooks can range from $15 to hundreds. These prices make many students cringe - because they're already paying top dollar for their tuition and housing costs. On top of it all, college textbooks are not where students want to spend the rest of their savings. Shopping for textbooks online is the best way to go because you can get the best deals out there on new and used books - or even rent them instead!
It is not uncommon for classes to require not just one textbook for the course material, but sometimes two or even three. From the time students are given the list of needed textbooks to the time assignments roll in that require their use, there is usually only about a week's time. It is imperative for many students to find an online store that provides the textbook they need, in the updated edition being used, and have it shipped and ready for class as soon as possible.
When searching for college textbooks online, consider the following things to ensure you get the best deal and online shopping experience:
TopConsumerReviews.com has reviewed and ranked the best college textbook stores online. We hope these reviews help you find the textbooks you need for your classes in a timely manner and at affordable prices.
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