Your Guide to Buying Textbooks for Cheap

When it's time to buy your textbooks you have three primary options:

  1. Buy from the on campus bookstore.
  2. Buy from the off campus bookstore.
  3. Buy from an online marketplace.

There are obviously other ways to buy textbooks and books, but these are the preferred methods used by college students in the United States and Canada today. The majority of college students will visit their on campus bookstore to buy their textbooks. However, with the continued increase in textbook prices, many students have been flocking to the internet to search for price saving options.

There are many pros and cons to each of these methods, so please read on to educate yourself on the method(s) that will best suit your needs when it comes time to buy your textbooks.

Buy Textbooks from the On Campus Bookstore

Buying Textbooks from the On Campus Bookstore
  • Pros
  • • Conveniently located
  • • Pick up books same day
  • • Pre pack option
  • Cons
  • • High prices
  • • Limited used selection
  • • Long lines

Most students purchase their textbooks from the on campus bookstore because of the convenience. Almost all on campus bookstores are located at a centralized location on campus that is easy for all students to find.

Each semester the on campus bookstore will ask teachers to submit request for what textbook they will be using for the upcoming semester. This will help the on campus store prepare and order the approximate amount of textbooks for the upcoming semester. Some on campus bookstores will provide a pre-pack option for students that will pack all the required books and materials that a teacher requests for their classes. This is convenient for the student, but many students find out that many of the supplemental materials are extremely expensive and not useful in class.

The overall selection of books in most on campus stores is large, but the selection of used books is extremely limited. This will force the majority of the students to be stuck waiting in a long line to buy a new textbook for over $150 that they will only use a few times.

Buy Textbooks from the Off Campus Bookstore

Buying Textbooks from The Off Campus Store
  • Pros
  • • Cheaper than campus
  • • Conveniently located for
    off campus students
  • Cons
  • • Limited Selection

Make sure to find out if there is an off campus bookstore located near you. Off campus bookstores are usually located in a location that is convenient for students that commute to school or live off campus.

Many off campus bookstores struggle to obtain course information from the teachers because the store is not directly affiliated with the school. This makes it hard for many off campus stores to plan the exact inventory that they will need for the upcoming semester. Therefore off campus stores will obtain the majority of their inventory from textbooks they bought back from students that were used the previous semester, and supplement it with inventory they purchase from textbook wholesalers. This means that they will have a smaller inventory selection, but students might be able to find cheaper used textbooks from the off campus bookstore than from the on campus bookstore.

Buy Textbooks from an Online Marketplace

Buying Textbooks from an Online Marketplace
  • Pros
  • • Larger Selection
  • • Cheaper Prices
  • • More Options
  • Cons
  • • Shipping Time

As textbook prices continue to rise, more students are searching online for deals on textbooks. An online textbook marketplace consists of thousands of wholesalers, bookstores, and booksellers nation wide that list their inventory online. This business model allows for dramatic price reductions because each seller competes on one website for your business.

An online marketplace will also have a much larger inventory compared to the on campus bookstore. This will allow students to search for textbooks based on price, comments, condition, and edition. Students can also easily save hundreds of dollars by purchasing the previous edition of a required textbook.

In the past, some students have been hesitant to search for textbooks online because they did not know who they were buying from and what type of experience to expect. Many marketplaces today protect their customers, and have created customer feedback systems that allow customers to leave feedback on their experience with a particular seller. This feedback system allows a potential customer to read about what type of service to expect when buying from a particular seller. Search for cheap textbooks on our marketplace or browse our college textbook subjects.