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Categorized | Paying For College

Textbooking – The Latest Craze On Campus

The following is a guest article submitted by Joseph Baker.

Buying textbooks has always been one of the least enjoyable parts of attending college: from finding the books to paying for them, it can be frighteningly expensive. And although the introduction of e-books has made it easier for students to find and use books for school, many students and their families still experience “sticker shock” when they see the prices of the texts they need at the beginning of every semester. Online stores now provide alternatives to students who want to avoid paying list price for textbooks and the ease of buying online is gaining popularity. Buying and selling used textbooks online is a reliable way to save money, to compare prices, and to sell books back once the semester ends.


The world’s largest online retailer started out as an online bookstore, and Amazon still offers students one of the best methods to buy and sell paper textbooks and e-textbooks. In addition to selling new and used books, their Amazon Student program allows members to receive free two-day shipping on everything Amazon sells, as well as discounts and other deals. Their Amazon’s comprehensive selection makes it an ideal choice for students attending online university classes or enrolling in distance learning programs.


Established in 1999 as a service for students to order books online and pick them up at campus bookstores, eCampus have transformed into a major college e-retailer. Students can also rent books from eCampus—student can just type in the ISBN’s of the books they want to rent, and eCampus ships them for free. When students finish the semester, they can ship the books back, free of charge.

Abe Books

For graduate students who need rare or out of print books for research, AbeBooks is an essential resource. Abe Books maintains a database of sellers from all over the world, which offers buyers a selection of translated and alternate editions that may not be available in the States. For students who want to sell their textbooks, Abe Books offers two easy programs that allows sellers to ship their books free of charge.

eBay bought in 2000, and the company expanded their offerings to selling and renting textbooks. Students can search for books using’s Buying Wizard, which allows students to search’s website for books and shipping rates that match their budgets.

School Message Boards

Most colleges and universities have message board system; and buying and selling books locally is a good way to save time and money, and to help out fellow students on campus. College students can use their school’s online message boards to find, buy and sell books to their fellow students. As always, should use caution, since person-to-person exchanges don’t offer the security of other online vendors. But creating a campus-based group of students who can buy and sell their books to each other can make the process faster, cheaper and easier.

The process of buying textbooks will probably never be one of the best parts of the college experience, but with a variety of online options, the textbook buying and selling process can go more smoothly than it has in the past. Students and their families should shop around for the best deals they can find—and spending a little extra time online can save hundreds of dollars a semester.

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