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Top 10 Tips For Buying Cheap Textbooks Online

December 21, 2011

Short of money? (Dumb question, I know). Trying to figure out how are you going to afford all the textbooks for your next term? Are you creating new economic theories to balance your scarce budget?

Then you are probably not taking advantage of the very best, more efficient way to get your textbooks cheap, and I mean really cheap.

Search and buy online. That’s it. That’s the secret. And to make sure you get the best value out of it, I’m giving you below the Top 10 Tips for buying cheaptextbooks online.

1. Buy early. Don’t wait for the first day of classes to go and find the books you need. That’s the moment when demand increases and, inevitably, prices increase with it. Textbooks sell fast and furiously over that short period of time and the effort required to get the best offers then is far greater than the effort necessary just a couple of weeks before.

If your college or university doesn’t supply the textbook lists in advance, don’t despair, contact former students from the course you want to take, or even the professors themselves, and ask them for the books you should buy. That little extra effort will certainly be worth your while.

2. Buy used. Secondhand textbooks are cheaper. That’s an undeniable fact. It is not unusual to find savings in excess of $50 against list prices.

3. Consider older editions. Often times, books on classical physics, chemistry or biology remain virtually the same for years. If you are willing to use older editions you could find books for as little as $1. Not sure if the International Edition will cut it? Contact your course tutor and ask. Chances are he’ll even recommend an older book.

4. International Editions. An International Edition is a textbook that has been published outside the US and Canada and is meant to be purchased and used outside the US and Canada. International Editions are generally drastically cheaper than their American/Canadian counterparts. Here’s the catch, the publishers of International Editions generally do not authorize the sale and distribution of International Editions in the United States and Canada and such sale or distribution may violate copyrights and trademarks of the publishers of such works.

5. Use the ISBN number to boost the effectiveness of your searches. Every book published since 1970 has a unique ISBN, using it instead of the author and/or title will make your searches faster and 100% accurate.

6. Free shipping.  Look for free shipping sellers when you are shopping around. Even though shipping within the US is generally under $4, or perhaps because of it, more and more sellers are keen to offer free shipping to potential customers in order to convert them into customers. This translates approximately as an addtional 10% discount off a $40 book or 5% discount off an $80 one.

7. Shop around. I know you know that already, anyway, let me say it again, just in case you just landed on Earth from another planet 10 minutes ago. Compare prices from, at least, three different sellers before you make up your mind. If you want to compare online booksellers, you can go to Bookfinder.com. In order to compare thousands of booksellers around the world you can go to Abebooks.com the world’s largest marketplace for books.

8. Buy local. Check where the bookseller you are buying from is located before closing the deal. The nearer the better as shipping cost goes down, the planet is happier and greener and your community will certainly appreciate the extra business.

9. Sell back your old textbooks after you are finished with them. Chances are the same online bookseller that you bought your books from is willing to buy them back, just go to their site and look for their buyback program. Generally, shipping the books is free and payment is immediate upon reception. This one sells itself, doesn’t it?

10. Treat your textbooks well. Don’t use them as umbrellas or to kill that gigantic spider that appeared from nowhere inside the bathtub. Don’t write the name of your love interest all over it alongside little hearts and don’t use it as a canvas when you feel that artistic urge. Remember, you might want to sell them later and the better the condition of the book the more money you receive for it.

Follow these tips and I guarantee you will find more money in your pockets, more time in your hands and, of course, the satisfaction of having joined the 21st century, at last.

Buy online, you’ll never go back.

Fernando Bessega is an ecommerce expert specialized in the book market. You can find more information about textbooks here

If you want more information on ISBNs, International Editions or other key textbooks terms, you can visit this Textbooks Glossary.

 

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