Textbook Publishers and Digital Textbooks

A lot has been made regarding the digital textbook industry.  While the hype surrounding e-textbooks is warranted, there is a big misconception when it comes to digital textbooks.  Textbook publishers actually want it to succeed.  This may go against what many have heard about digital textbooks cutting into the profit margins of hard copy textbooks.  Since during the early years, companies were afraid that their books would be pirated.  However in reality, they will greatly help the industry increase profits.  For years, the sales at textbook companies have suffered because of the used textbook market.  Why buy new, when the used ones costs half as much?  That is the thinking that goes into the minds of students every year when it comes to purchasing books for the semester.  Book publishers have tried many ways to slow down the prevalence of used books.  This includes the frequent new editions and bundling textbooks with study guides.  It may be surprising to students to know that many new edition textbooks come with very little updated content.  As drastic as these practices seem, they have not worked.  The used book market is still strong.  That is where ebooks come into play.  Ebooks serves a good purpose since it will be cheaper for students to buy.  For textbook publishers, digital books will diminish the need for used textbooks since students can just buy an updated copy of the book online and download it to their ereader.  As demand for used books declines so will the supply.  When this happens, book companies will raise the prices of digital books.  However, for now students have yet to fully embrace their ereader as their textbook of choice.  This is due to several reasons including bad ereaders, availability of titles, and inconvenience of digital readers.


What Are Some Other Places to Buy Used Textbooks

There are quite a few places online and offline that students can use to buy textbooks used for college.  The obvious places to buy are your campus bookstore, local bookstore, and the well known online bookstores such as Amazon.com and BarnesAndNoble.com.  While these places are good places to buy, especially the online bookstores.  There are several other places that students should consider when looking for cheap used books.  Most notably they are online marketplaces and used book sales.

Online marketplaces can include Ebay and Craigslist.  When these two online properties are mentioned, people think auctions and classified ads.  While that is correct, people can sometimes find great deals on textbooks.  Fewer people look at these sites to find cheap textbooks.  This makes the prices for textbooks a good deal.  However, the only drawback is that the supply can be limited.  There are a lot of one off books, but it certainly does not hurt to take a quick look.  For Craigslist, if you happen to find a book you need, it is better to exchange the book and money in person so that you can check out the condition of the book before handing over the money.

Used book sales is another great place to find textbooks.  However, even fewer students use this method to buy textbooks.  There are occasional sales every month for used books.  Check with your local library to confirm when these sales happen.  Sometimes, people can find really cheap textbooks here.  However, be aware that the books will be in no particular order and can take a bit of time to go through everything.

Which Textbooks Can Be Sold for the Most Money?

Reselling textbooks back to your school book store is an integral part of a strategy to save money on the overall cost of buying textbooks.  Many students may wonder what bookstores look for when buying a textbook back from students.  Which ones are repurchased at the highest prices.  In general, new edition technical textbooks are the ones that receive the best buyback offers as long as they are in good condition.  These books are big and usually quite expensive to begin with brand new.  However, that is only part of the buyback equation.  The other of course is demand.  If the textbook is popular among different colleges and classes, that drives the price higher since many online bookstores will have to compete in order to buy it from students.  Another secret about the textbook buyback process is that depending on when students sell their textbooks, prices will differ.  Textbooks that are sold before the big textbook buying months of January and August will give students the best and highest prices for books.  Try to sell a book back after the busy buying season and the prices offered will drop dramatically.  This is because the textbook business is extremely seasonal.  Online book stores will have to store the textbooks in their warehouse and wait until the next buying seasons.  This shifts more risk into their business since textbook publishers can come out with a new edition thus rendering the old textbooks worthless.  In addition to knowing which books to sell and when, it is best to use a book buy back compare website to search all the internet book retailers to find the highest prices for your books.  It is actually quite convenient since the bookstores will include shipping for free.  Just make sure the book is in decent condition since the bookstore has the right to refuse purchases.

Selling Textbooks for Top Dollar

Textbooks are quite expensive and can add up to a lot of money towards the total cost of your college education.  That is why selling back textbooks is a good way to recuperate part of your cost.  Like we described in our other blog post, renting textbooks is fine to save cash upfront.  However, buying used textbooks and reselling them after the semester ends is the best method to minimizing book expenses.  There are several alternatives to selling your textbooks including your campus bookstore, local bookstore, and online bookstores.

Using the campus and local bookstores is convenient since its right there on your campus or near it.  However, it is limited for several reasons.  Each bookstore can only repurchase a certain number books back before it will no longer buy them back.  In addition, buyback prices are often only 20 to 30 cents on the dollar.  That is the price students pay for the added convenience.

Another way is to sell textbooks through an online bookstore.  There are many internet book shops available that buy back textbooks.  The buy prices will often vary greatly between each store since inventory levels and demand for books will be different at each company.  The best way to save students time and money is to use a buyback price comparison website to instantly search all the best bookstores online for the highest buyback prices.

The Benefits of Using Digital Textbooks

It is no secret that the textbook industry is changing dramatically.  In the past, students could only purchase textbooks from their local college bookstore and it came either new and used.  Fast forward to today, in addition to your campus university bookstore, students can find what they need from online retailers, often at much cheaper prices and there is also the option to rent textbooks from a variety of companies.  However, the idea that could change everything is if more students use digital textbooks and it really takes off.  The benefits for students would be enormous including saving time, convenience, and spending less money on books.

Digital textbooks can be easily purchased from a lot of different websites online.  With almost everyone using broadband internet these days, it takes only a few seconds to download and install the book on your ebook reader.  There would be no need to go out and buy books from stores.  Thus savings students the hassle and time to scour for the best prices on or offline.

Moreover, students can bank on the convenience of only having to carry their book reader instead of several textbooks in their backpack.  Book readers can store hundreds of titles with the built in memory.  At most, students can only carry 3 or 4 textbooks in their bags.  That means no more back pain from all that weight on your shoulders.  There is also the ease of searching for text or going to a specific page in the book instantly.  Some book readers even allows students to highlight the words in the book.  Battery life isn’t much of an issue either since the readers can operate an entire week with a full charge.  Lastly, with the e-ink technology, there is no eye strain from reading since the appearance of the text is almost identical to the hard copy one.

Probably most important of all the benefits is that e-textbooks are a lot cheaper for students.  Since, textbook publishers do not need to print the textbooks, they save money on those costs.  Often times, the savings is at least 50% off hard copy books.  For book sellers, there is no need to store digital books offline and the price for online storage is quite cheap these days.  Although students need to keep in mind that there is an upfront cost to buying a book reader.  Luckily, prices are dropping dramatically for these devices.  If you want to save money on textbooks be sure to keep an eye out for wider adoption of digital textbooks.

The High Cost of Textbooks at Your Local Bookstore

It is no secret that the price of textbooks have been skyrocketing every year even if the economy is bad.  The cycle of the average textbook is only 2 to 3 years.  Textbook publishers have an incentive to push out new version of textbooks and markup them up even more.   This happens even when little to no new material has been added to the book.  Adding to the cost is your local bookstore.

Many students like shopping for their school books at their local book retailer because it is close to their college and just simple.  As convenient as it may be, students are definitely sacrificing cost savings and selection.  Bricks and mortar book stores have a higher cost structure that they need to pass onto students.  Compared to online stores, physical stores are limited to geographic reach of students in a specific area.  In addition, stores need to pay rent for their shop.  Also, your local bookstore is limited by storage space.  It can only hold so many books.  Used textbooks will almost surely be sold first, leaving the selection limited to only new and expensive books for students.  Add this all up and it means that online book stores has a huge structural cost advantage over traditional book retailers.  To simplify things even more and save additional money, use a textbook price comparison website to quickly find the lowest priced books at once.  There will be no need to visit every online store and manually check the price of each book.


The Disadvantages of Renting Textbooks

Textbook rentals is a new innovation in the textbook industry that is only in its infancy stages of growth.  It has many benefits to students including its simplicity, convenience, and not having to spend as much upfront on textbooks.  However, despite all the benefits there are some noticeable drawbacks to renting instead of buying textbooks that very few people bother to mention including total cost and possible late fee penalties.

Many textbook rental companies like to tout their service as the cheapest textbook service around.  While that may be true for some people, it may not be the case for a lot of folks.  While renting will be cheaper with its lower upfront cost of renting a textbook, students do not get additional money back from selling textbooks to bookstores.  A case in point would be those who buy used textbooks for 50 to 60% of the retail cost and then sell them back for around 40% of their value.  Perhaps the savings will be even more when students comparison shop for used textbooks and buy backs.

The example above does not even include scenarios in which the student forgets to return their textbooks to the rental companies on time or forgets which company they rented from all together.  The textbook rental companies will often tack on large late penalty fees to the amount students already paid for renting textbooks.  Any additional savings from renting over buying textbooks would instantly be negated and put a bigger hole in a student’s wallet.  Then, there are those that are so busy with school work that they forget which company they rented their textbooks from.  In this case, students will get charged a large penalty fee in addition to rental fees already paid.  Plus, now the students are stuck with a book and will need to take time to find a place to sell it to recoup some costs.

The Benefits of Renting Textbooks Online

The price of a university education is increasing fast.  College students with a small budget are finding it very difficult to afford all the costs of college and are trying their very best to save as much money as possible.  One of the better ways to cut costs and save a lot of money is by renting textbooks online.  Buying new books at your local college book store is quite costly and the price of several textbooks can add up to a lot of cash out of your pocket.  Fortunately, there are a lot textbook rental stores online that lets students rent books for college at a fraction of the cost it would take to buy the textbooks straight out.  In the United States, students are increasingly relying on renting textbooks to cut out unnecessary expenses.

The cost of a new textbook can cost an average of $100 to $150 and taking into account that a regular university student takes5 to six classes per semester, the total cost just for college textbooks can be quite large and unaffordable.  In addition, sometimes the books you buy may not even be used at all by the professor once the course begins.  Also, at the end of the semester students are left with the books that were purchased for that semester.  Although it is correct that students can sell their old textbooks to the campus bookstore, most of the time the buy back price is really low, around 30 t0 40% of retail value.  With that being said, it is really not a good economical decision to buy brand new books when one of the other alternative option is to rent textbooks.

There are many textbook rental websites that have cheap prices on textbooks, often with free or very cheap shipping rates and free shipping on returns when the rental period is over.  Students can even decide to rent textbooks for the whole semester and they can decide on the length of time that they will require the books.  These rental websites make it very simple and easy to search for the books that students need for classes.  Searches can be done with keywords, titles, ISBN or author.  Renting textbooks is fast, easy, and saves students money which is perfect during times when our economy is not doing well and the cost of college is increasing.  If students want to find a good way to lower their college textbook expenses, next time try renting textbooks from the many textbook rental websites available on the internet including chegg and bookrenter.

Buying Used Textbooks Versus New Textbooks

Many students are trying to find a way to save money on textbooks.  Some believe new textbooks are better and worth the price while others think used textbooks is better for the savings.  The reality is that there are tradeoffs with new and used textbooks.  Students will need to evaluate what they are willing to deal with and without.   To do so, let us look at the pros and cons of new textbooks versus old textbooks.

New textbooks are obviously the preferred choice.  Without a doubt, it will be the latest and greatest edition of the book.  The condition of the book is brand new.  There is no highlighting, missing pages, or ripped pages.  The big tradeoff however is the expensive price.  New books are sold at retail price.  Often costing $150 or more and its price keeps increasing with each new edition.  Even if the new edition has few to no new material, the price will be higher.  Now let’s move on to used textbooks.

Used textbooks seems to get a bad rap.  Yes, there are some cases in which students receive a book that was not inspected for damage when it was bought online.  There may be missing content or chapters full of highlighting.  However, for the most part the majority of textbooks resold as used is still in good enough condition to study effectively.  If you decide to buy them at your college bookstore, you can inspect them thoroughly before committing on a purchase.  Add to the fact that most used books can be purchased at 50 to 60% of the retail value.  That is a lot of savings for students.  The disadvantage of used textbooks is actually finding them.  At your local campus bookstore and even online bookstores, the used books are always the first to go.  Despite being of a lesser condition, used textbooks is still by far the better value of the two.

Best Ways to Buy Cheap Textbooks

Affording to pay for a college education has become harder than ever before.  When the global economy is in recession, jobs are lost and wages are decreased. Yet, universities around the world continue to increase their tuition prices.  Add to that the constant increase in prices of college textbooks.  It is no wonder that students and parents are stressed out about college.  For those that need tuition money, they can turn to financial aid, scholarships, student loans, and grants.  As for getting textbooks for the lowest prices, there are several options available to students including:

  • Online Marketplaces
  • Other Students
  • Libraries
  • Textbook Comparison Websites

textbooks for cheap

Used Textbooks Markets

There are quite a few marketplaces that students can buy from including online classifieds and auctions.  Some examples of these include Ebay, Craigslist, and bookswap.com.  The advantage is that sometimes, students can find great deals on books.  However, the selection is not as great and also not as convenient as buying books from bookstores.  Buyers will also need to be aware of scams that may occur when sending payment.  Always use a trusted system such as Paypal, escrow, or even meet the person if possible to handle the transaction.


It is good to know other students that took the class that you will be taking.  Most of the time, they will be selling it back to the campus bookstore and will often get 25% of the purchase price, which is very low.  You can always offer a better price and at the same time come out ahead paying less than at the college bookstore.  Just make sure the textbook is in decent condition before you pay for it.


Many students do not know it but the library is another place that you can get cheap textbooks.  Most college libraries will have at least several copies of textbooks for each class.  The key is being early and prepared.  Know which classes and associated textbooks you are going to need for the semester.  Then reserve the books right away.

Textbook Comparison Websites

Probably the best source to buy new and used textbooks at the lowest prices is by using a book price comparison website.  By entering your textbook title, keywords, author, or ISBN, the website will find the lowest prices for new, used, and rental textbooks from all the top bookstores online.  This saves students time and guarantees that the textbooks purchased will be the best deal available.  Just make sure to buy your textbooks early because popular ones can be sold out quickly.

Next Page »