Feb 09, 2014 02:34pm
Digging for the best textbook prices
December 5, 2013 - 4:56pm

Cheaper prices are always better, but sometimes it takes some digging to get the best value when you buy, sell or rent textbooks. 

To see the full results of our research, click here.

We compared the EvCC bookstore with Amazon, Chegg.com, half.eBay.com, Half Price Books and Barnes and Noble. Depending on which service you choose, there is some money to be saved.

When the prices of seven popular EvCC textbooks were compared, Amazon came out on top.

Amazon, Chegg.com, half.eBay.com and Barnes and Noble supply students with the ability to buy from the company itself or from an individual, which can save students money since individual sellers tend to be cheaper.

Amazon is suggested over the other services since Amazon has free shipping for students or for an order that is $35 or more, and the option for an eText of a specific book.

Kaleb Weber graphic

Chegg.com is in second place because emails are answered relatively fast if a customer has a question or needs help, pictures of textbooks are usually always there and books are never turned down for sale.

Barnes & Noble off campus takes third place because books have high availability, pictures are usually present and books are never turned down for sale.

EvCC bookstore is in fourth place. Even though prices are on the high side compared to the other sources, the books are available. Renting is available for a good amount of books, it’s a convenient location, students can order books online and pick them up on campus and students can sell back their book to the school bookstore even if it wasn’t purchased there. One drawback, however, is that some books that were bought at the EvCC bookstore could be rejected because the school is no longer using them even if they used them the previous quarter.

Fifth place is half.eBay.com because pictures are often missing, availability is limited and most books are sold by individuals, not the company itself.

Last place goes to Half Price Books because pictures are often missing, they have the smallest selection, prices are high and they can’t give an estimating price online or over the phone because Half Price Books needs to see the condition of the textbooks before offering a quote.

Nick Hagen, EvCC bookstore Assistant Manager, said that one rental lasts the entire quarter and that it is an easy process to rent a textbook.

In order to rent a book, a student must provide the college with their name, address, email and credit card. Hagen said that a credit card doesn’t have to be used to purchase the items, but that it needs to be present in order to rent because it ensures that the school will have leverage if the book is not returned.

Timing is also a major factor to consider when buying, selling and renting books, said Hagen. The best time to buy and rent books is about a month before classes start.

“It’s important to buy early because we usually get used [textbooks] in first and [they are] usually the first to get bought out,” said Hagen. “So, when students come in week one or week two and they are disappointed because they only see new [books] on the shelf … I had stacks of used [books] but they are just gone now.” The first weeks of the quarter are busy, said Hagen, but students can always order online through the bookstore and pick their books up later.

The best time to sell books is the end of the quarter during finals week, said Hagen.

“The last few weeks of the quarter we are buying for the store,” said Hagen. Other times, they are buying for another company, Hagen said.

Another source that is offered at the school is students selling books to other students.

Student government’s Textbook Alternative Committee was started about three years ago and helps students save money by providing a bulletin board for students to sell their materials to other students.

Megan Brewer, a student worker for the Textbook Alternative Committee, said that they are currently using a physical bulletin board located in Parks outside of Enrollment Services because their website was recently hacked.

“We are all students too and understand that books are expensive. There are books that can be more expensive than the class itself,” said Brewer.

“I’ve never minded students selling books to each other,” said Hagen, “Buyback, we make an offer. We are not forcing anyone to take the offer. If they can sell it to each other for a better price, then more power to them.”

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