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Don’t Break the Bank: An Essential Guide to Buying Textbooks

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Posted on Aug, 13 2014

With fall classes right around the corner many students will be faced with the decision of where to buy books and may be overwhelmed with the options. Below, we have provided a synopsis of a few major textbook providers for NDSU freshman students or students just looking to save some money when it comes to buying their textbooks.

NDSU Bookstore

NDSU’s Bookstore website provides students with the resources to look up materials they need for each course and offers a price comparison of what they and other websites charge for the materials including NDSU’s prices for e-books, rentals, used or new textbooks. Below is an example of the price comparison for one textbook.



After making their selection, students add books to the cart and proceed through the check out. Students registered at NDSu are able to charge to their accounts the week before class starts. During checkout they have different delivery options for students to choose from including store pick-up.  Some classes require students to have NDSU exclusive books or materials; these materials cannot be purchased at any other store other than the NDSU Bookstore. NDSU offers buyback of textbooks during designated times each semester. You can look up what your book will be worth through the NDSU Bookstore website.

Barnes and Noble

Barnes and Noble rents out textbooks and sells used and new textbooks as well. Type in the ISBN number of the book you need. Once you find the book, Barnes and Noble gives you list of the new, used, e-book and rental prices for the book.  If you wish to rent your textbooks at Barnes and Noble, you have different rental period options and you can also extend your rental period up to 125 days for a fee.  It is free to return your rental textbooks by UPS. You just package your books, print and attach the label, and drop off at a UPS location. If you find out you don’t need the book, you can return it within 21 days for a refund.  For those who are buying books, after the semester is over you can always sell your book back to Barnes and Noble, shipping is free.

Chegg

Chegg also sells, buys, and rents out textbooks. Type in the book you need and Chegg gives you a list of the e-book, rental, buy or sell prices for the book.  If you wish to rent your textbooks, Chegg does not provide different rental periods but you are able to get an extension if needed. You are given a due date at your check out.  It is free to return your rental textbooks. You only need to package your books, print and attach the label, and drop off at the specified shipping facility like UPS or FedEx. Chegg has a 21-day delivery policy. If you don’t receive your books within 21 business days of your order you will be refunded the shipping costs.

Bookbyte

Bookbyte sells, buys, and rents used and new textbooks. Type in the book you need and a list of prices and condition of books is shown. You can choose your rental period ranging from 30 – 150 days and get an extension on your rental if needed. Bookbyte pays for the shipping when you return your rentals or are shipping books they are buying from you.

Amazon

Amazon sells, buys, and rents used and new textbooks. Enter the book you need and Amazon provides a list of prices and condition of books available. Amazon offers different rental periods and offers an extension if you need to keep your book longer. Amazon also pays for the shipping when you return your rentals or are shipping books they are buying from you.

Half

Half provides a platform for individuals to sell, buy and rent used and new textbooks from each other. Enter the book you need and Half provides a list of prices and condition of books available. There is one set rental period of 125 days, but an extension is offered. Shipping for returning your rentals is free. Half offers to reimburse sellers a predetermined amount per book, but they do not cover the full cost when buying books from you.

Abebooks

Abebooks sells and buys used and new textbooks. Enter the book you need and Abebooks provides a list of prices and condition of books available. Abebooks provides free shipping when they are buying books from you and also pays for shipping for some books you buy from them. However, they do not offer rental textbooks.

As you can see each site has its own pros and cons and no site is the cheapest choice for a particular textbook all the time. You, as the student, will have to choose which site is best for you. You may have to mix and match to fit your needs and research a little to get the best price. We personally prefer the NDSU Bookstore because of the resources it provides like the price comparison and exclusive materials sometimes required for classes. Plus, all revenue brought in by the Bookstore goes back to the university.

Where do you buy your books? Give us your feedback on your favorite place to buy textbooks and why on Twitter @ndsudce or our NDSU DCE Facebook page.


Written by: Shannon Jacobson, public relations and marketing intern

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