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Textbook Underground vs eCampus
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.
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.
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.
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:
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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