College Textbooks: Buying Online to Save Money

I’ve walked up and down the aisles of my university bookstore many times, and every time it amazes me just how expensive college text books are. While attending my college orientation a little while back, the college bookstore representative stepped up to the podium to try to explain not only their prices, but why you should buy from them instead of somewhere else. I sat intently and listened to the speaker talk about how much a text book costs to bring into production and about how I should support the university by buying from them. Then they discussed how their prices are consistent with other stores and how they offer the best buyback price as well. Were these actual tips for students or just clever tactics that any smart business uses? I say the latter.

Step into any college book store and look at the price for a few books. Some are reasonably priced, but the sad thing is that these books are very few and immensely far between. The answer to these high prices: the internet. On various sites all over the world wide web consumer-students turned bargain hunters can find all or nearly all of the textbooks they need for much less than what the bookstore charges, and that includes shipping. Very few students, or parents for that matter, utilize this resource which can save you hundreds of dollars in just a single semester

One such site is www.half.com, which is owned and operated by eBay. This site offers many products for “half-price”, and while this is not true one-hundred percent of the time, it is typically the case when it comes to textbooks. Each textbook you look up on half.com has a rating based on what condition it is in. Varying conditions for the same book result in different prices. This site, in particular, is very user friendly, allowing users to search for text books in several different ways.

The first way to search is also the easiest and most specific. First you must find the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) for each of your college textbooks. Each book, including different editions under the same title, has a unique ISBN number located above the bar code. Often, college bookstores will not tell you these numbers on the phone because they know you are going to purchase your books from somewhere other than their store. This predicament is easily solved by visiting your bookstore with pen and paper in hand and writing down the needed ISBN numbers. Then all you have to do is simply enter the numbers you found into the ISBN search on half.com, select the books and conditions you would like to purchase, then simply purchase and pay for them via PayPal.

You can also search for your text books by title, author, or keyword(s). This search type can come in handy if you live far from the college you will attend and cannot obtain the ISBN numbers of your books. When using this method, be sure of what edition book you need as this search can return multiple results. At this point I’m sure most of you understand how to find as well as buy your text books, but don’t understand how a semester of books, even at half price, can cost you less than $100. The answer: reselling.

Reselling is a key ingredient to spending under $100 a semester on books. After each semester, resell you used books on the web. This allows you to make nearly all of the money you spent initially purchasing the book back. The key to earning as much money back as possible is to keep your books in a very good condition. This let’s you sell your books for more money and also allows others to get their books in better condition for cheap. This cycle continues semester after semester. By reselling your books the only money you spend on books each semester is the difference between the price you buy the books at and the price you resell them at, allowing you to spend under $100 each semester.

By utilizing the preceding tips, as well as other tips online, financing college can become a little easier. Buying books online is a smart option for the cost conscious members of society. The experience of buying books online rather than in a store coupled with a large savings makes this venture a worthwhile experience.

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