Best College Textbooks for April 2019

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Campus Book Rentals vs Textbook Underground

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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.


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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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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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? 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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