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creekland

Textbook pricing

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I might have a new record.  I got one of youngest son's textbooks used on Amazon for $2.39 and we paid a few cents extra just to get it from Goodwill of South Florida rather than some other sellers (we like supporting Goodwill).  It was supposedly in "Good" condition, but I'd have listed it as "Very Good" I think.

 

Used at his college bookstore would have cost us $54 + tax...

 

I remain amazed at how bookstores can charge so much and am offering this PSA to anyone buying textbooks that it's super worth it to check online first.

 

There are no codes involved with this text.  It's just a book that has been around for awhile so there are oodles of copies out there decreasing the price - anywhere except the bookstore.

 

We saved $$ on all his other books too (as is common), but the most percentage-wise on his other books had me paying 1/3rd of the cost of the bookstore (saving 2/3rds).  This one blew that record far away.

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My oldest son almost died the first time I showed him used copies of a book he was looking for on addall.com at a fraction of the university bookstore costs.

 

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

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Nice.

My DS needs access codes. those are the pits.

 

Agreed.  That and brand new editions that are required when one knows not much has changed.  I don't mind "new" editions when professors ok the "old" editions.  That makes the older ones nicely priced.  Oldest had one prof who required a 5th edition of a book when the newest one was 8th edition.  The book dealt with the History of Theater.  How much could the "history" of theater have changed anyway?  I loved that prof.  It's possible the cost savings of that book bought online vs the bookstore matched this one, but I'm too lazy to look.  I just appreciate it.

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We've almost been exclusively access codes for the past few years.  Makes me so mad.  We did have two classes where no book was required, which we really appreciated!  

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I am amazed at the number of sellers who are asking more than the publisher.  Riiiight.  Convenience, or top of the search list, really must pay off. 

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I am amazed at the number of sellers who are asking more than the publisher.  Riiiight.  Convenience, or top of the search list, really must pay off. 

 

These tend to be book dealers and they don't actually have the book at the time (so I read in a story once).  If someone were to buy it, they'd find one for cheaper and send it to you.  I guess they want it to look like they have a huge inventory.

 

I have used book places like Amazon organize them by price for me, lowest at the top.  Then I scroll down to the condition or %feedback I want - or occasionally paying more for a certain seller.  I have the bookstore price written down so I know when I've reached par.  Once in a while it's less expensive for my guys to get things there (esp if access codes are involved).

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At the end of the semester, DS can try selling back his $2.50 textbook to the school bookstore -- he might actually make a few bucks, even if the school only buys at 25% of what they charge!  :laugh:

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At the end of the semester, DS can try selling back his $2.50 textbook to the school bookstore -- he might actually make a few bucks, even if the school only buys at 25% of what they charge!  :laugh:

 

I'll admit I've mentioned this to him already.  We could actually make a profit out of the deal.  It all depends upon whether the class is going to keep the same book in future years I would think.

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DS’s class is still up in the air but I did a quick check of the books required for the two classes he is considering. For one, the professor had the bookstore list three different editions. It was a great way to communicate that an older edition will be fine.

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We rented all of dds textbooks this semester - a first! They ranged from $12-$30 each to rent. She does need two codes for a Calc and science class - but has a math one "left-over" from last semester (the website said we NEEDED the code - professor on day 1 said they didn't... grrrrr). So she'll have to buy the code for a textbook she already owns (dropped this class last semester, so just needs to renew the code since she "spent" it last semester, apparently. UGH).

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DD is in High School. My prize "catch" was an English textbook I was about to pay $20 or 25 for it and she was going to need it soon.  For some reason, one day I checked the prices on Amazon 5 or 6 times. At about 5 P.M. I checked and BetterWorldBooks had come in and listed it for one cent plus $3.99 shipping in the USA.  I have purchased other books for one cent or close to it, but that one was a catch.  The English textbook was in very nice condition.

 

I have begun using Bookfinder.com when searching for textbooks for DD.

 

Yesterday, the delivery truck for our Receiver/Forwarder in Miami arrived with a 16 pound carton containing 4 textbooks for DD.  The most expensive was an Astronomy textbook published in 2014. It was $27.20 including shipping to Miami. That textbook is normally used in colleges and it does have an unused Access Code. It came from GlenTheBookSeller in "Chicagoland" and was purchased on eBay.  It had previously been a Rental book, in a CC in the state of Iowa.

 

Two of the books were purchased directly from Thrift Books on their web stie. I believe both came from Books Squared in Dallas. One was listed in "Very Good" condition. It should have been listed in "Good" condition.  The other book was listed as "Good" and could have been listed at least "Very Good".  

 

One book was purchased from BetterWorldBooks on their web site and is in very nice condition. It was listed in "Good" condition and could have been listed as "Very Good" or "Like New".  It even has a CD in it.

 

The book from Glen The Book Seller was shipped via DHL Global Mail which was very fast into Miami. The other 3 were shipped via OSM and also were fast into Miami.

 

RE: ACCESS CODES   I made some comments about those to DD this morning and explained to her that when she is in university that if she possibly can, before buying textbooks or access codes, contact the Instructor/Professor and ask if the Access Code will be used and also if an older edition of the textbook is OK.

 

The Astronomy book DD received had been a Rental book in a CC in Iowa.  It is the 7th edition. I suspect they are now using the 8th edition. As I told DD, it's somewhat of a Racket, the Access Codes and the Book Publishers obviously want to sell more new books and they push the Instructors and Professors to use newer textbooks.

 

NOTE: I have noticed that sometimes, buying from eBay is less, sometimes substantially less, than buying the same book from the same Seller on Amazon.  Also the book may be much less on the web site of a Seller like Thrift Books or BetterWorldBooks, but sometimes it is more.

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Follow on: When I'm looking at a textbook for DD on Amazon, I check the prices from "New" down to "Good" individually by clicking on the box. Sometimes, you can get a  textbook listed in better condition, for less money than a book in a lower rated condition. I have never purchased a textbook listed as "Acceptable" for DD. I prefer "Very Good", but mostly she gets books listed in "Good" condition. Many of them are in better condition than what the Seller listed.  We have purchased a few textbooks over the years listed as "New" and I think they actually had a school stamp in them, but hadn't been issued to a student and we were not planning to sell them since we live overseas, so that was OK with us.  

 

NOTE: If your student needs a Valid Access Code and the textbook is listed as "New", message the Seller first, via the Amazon or eBay Messaging System and ask them to confirm that the Access Code has not been used.  Make that part of the deal and have it documented in the pre sale communication with the Seller in case there is an issue.

 

I think the Astronomy textbook DD received yesterday is only the 2nd textbook she's needed that is normally used in Colleges. Both of them have Unused Access Codes. 

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FWIW, I'm rather pleased to be retiring from my textbook buying at this point.  This is the last semester I have one in college.  The big con to that is I feel old... followed by knowing I won't hear so many interesting stories of things they've learned and experienced.  A big pro is our usable income will suddenly go way up... a part of that from no longer needing to buy textbooks of any kind.  I won't miss that part.

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My required books for this semester came to $813.00.   :scared:

 

Then the calculator comes to 189.00 plus tax and I could not bargain shop, because the way my financial aid is set up, I need to purchase everything from the school bookstore. So the total price is over $1,000.00.

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My required books for this semester came to $813.00.   :scared:

 

Then the calculator comes to 189.00 plus tax and I could not bargain shop, because the way my financial aid is set up, I need to purchase everything from the school bookstore. So the total price is over $1,000.00.

 

That's super frustrating.  How can they put those conditions on a package?  Back in my AFROTC days they paid for books, but had no stipulation on where the books came from.  There were two bookstores catering to students.  One was "the" college bookstore and the other was private.  It didn't matter where I got mine from.  The internet wasn't used for sales back then, so I can't compare that option.

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My school does this. It's basically borrowing against your financial aid for that semester. That financial aid is not disbursed until 10 days after class starts, to ensure you go to class. So yes, you're welcome to buy books anywhere, but to use aid that you're going to be given, you have to buy from the bookstore. 

They make this available 10 days before class starts, you check out with your student ID, and it shows up on your student bill in a few days. 

 

For people who don't use credit or people like me who live on very little margin between semesters, it one of the few ways to afford books. 

 

 

My required books for this semester came to $813.00.   :scared:

 

Then the calculator comes to 189.00 plus tax and I could not bargain shop, because the way my financial aid is set up, I need to purchase everything from the school bookstore. So the total price is over $1,000.00.

 

 

That's super frustrating.  How can they put those conditions on a package?  Back in my AFROTC days they paid for books, but had no stipulation on where the books came from.  There were two bookstores catering to students.  One was "the" college bookstore and the other was private.  It didn't matter where I got mine from.  The internet wasn't used for sales back then, so I can't compare that option.

 

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My school does this. It's basically borrowing against your financial aid for that semester. That financial aid is not disbursed until 10 days after class starts, to ensure you go to class. So yes, you're welcome to buy books anywhere, but to use aid that you're going to be given, you have to buy from the bookstore. 

 

They make this available 10 days before class starts, you check out with your student ID, and it shows up on your student bill in a few days. 

 

For people who don't use credit or people like me who live on very little margin between semesters, it one of the few ways to afford books. 

 

I guess this if fine if the financial aid is a grant or scholarship and the college is essentially covering the cost.  I don't think it's right/ethical if it's a loan.  I would think being able to show receipts for the correct books having been bought should be good enough in the case of a loan.  If one doesn't have the money for the less expensive books (or time to shop online or whatever), then buying on credit at the bookstore could be an option, but for those who have the means to cover the cost for a couple of weeks or month (like on a credit card that gets paid when reimbursed), then cheaper is definitely better if on a tight budget.

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I asked DD to inspect each of the 4 textbooks she received Friday, for 2 minutes, so I could give intelligent Feedback. Two things I noticed: The first is that, so far, Better World Books has not requested feedback and I did not see a way to leave Feedback, when I logged into their web site. The other thing is that the most expensive book was a Paperback that had been a Rental Book in a CC in the state of Iowa. Possibly the school bookstore got rid of it because there is another edition, if not, possibly for this reason. It was listed by the eBay Seller as "Good" condition. Here are the comments from my DD about that Astronomy textbook:

 

"Very occasional markings, one page is taped together, not distracting. Otherwise Like New".

 

If someone rented that book, in that condition, and then returned it, I wonder if they would have then been charged for a Brand New textbook?

 

3 of the books were listed as "Good". One was listed as "Very Good". 

 

One book had underlining, somewhate distracting, otherwise Like New.  One is LIke New. One has some markings, nothing distracting, Very Good. The most expensive one, the Astronomy textbook from the CC in Iowa that had been a Rental textbook:  Very occasional markings, one page is taped together, not distracting. Otherwise Like New. 

 

So, I believe we did quite well, considering what we paid for the 4 books.  :-)

 

 

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FWIW, I'm rather pleased to be retiring from my textbook buying at this point.  This is the last semester I have one in college.  The big con to that is I feel old... followed by knowing I won't hear so many interesting stories of things they've learned and experienced.  A big pro is our usable income will suddenly go way up... a part of that from no longer needing to buy textbooks of any kind.  I won't miss that part.

 

This is our last semester with one in college too.  (Well, unless the older one who chose a different route will decide to go to college someday!)  There are a lot of things I won't miss...  filling out the FAFSA, for one!

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Textbooks can be such a scam!  I wish colleges would work harder to help students out with this.  For example, my dd had to take a required class at their college.  (All freshmen have to.)  She was able to get the text from the year before for about $15.  But no, they needed the most up-to-date edition, and it needed to be seen and approved by the teacher.  So, she was forced to purchase the brand new $150 version.  She kept it wrapped in plastic, and decided to see if the older $15 text (which she had already bought) would work.  It actually worked fine!  She read it cover to cover and everything she needed to learn was in there.  She never even needed to open the brand new edition.  

 

She was able to sell the brand new edition the following year, but not for what she paid for it.  It's really ridiculous!

 

 

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Textbooks can be such a scam!  I wish colleges would work harder to help students out with this.  For example, my dd had to take a required class at their college.  (All freshmen have to.)  She was able to get the text from the year before for about $15.  But no, they needed the most up-to-date edition, and it needed to be seen and approved by the teacher.  So, she was forced to purchase the brand new $150 version.  She kept it wrapped in plastic, and decided to see if the older $15 text (which she had already bought) would work.  It actually worked fine!  She read it cover to cover and everything she needed to learn was in there.  She never even needed to open the brand new edition.  

 

She was able to sell the brand new edition the following year, but not for what she paid for it.  It's really ridiculous!

 

I wouldn't have good thoughts about that professor.  My mind would wonder if s/he were somehow profiting from book sales.  The vast majority of profs my guys have had willingly work with students so they can use older editions if they choose.  Some even offer the problems numbers for each version when they differ.

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I got my book for $70 on Amazon (the school wants $100).  The school will price match though.  I just could not be bothered to deal with that though. 

 

And for DS, I happened to still have the book he needs (I took the class I think 2 years ago and they are using the same book).  So I lucked out there.

 

 

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TTU K12 (formerly TTUISD) is moving towards eBooks. While I believe there is a lot to be said to be able to hold a traditional textbook in your hands and read it, and not stare at a computer monitor, the difference in price, for a one year license for the eBooks is wonderful. And, no shipping cost or time. The High School Math courses were the first ones to go to eBooks. I think we paid about USD $17 for one year access.  Recently, before I purchased the textbooks for 4 courses DD was interested in, I asked about another course.  The response was they are coming out with a new version of that course (possibly this month) and it will use an eBook.  Fingers crossed that it will also be about $17 for one year's access.

 

In Colleges and Universities, if they would do that, it would save the students a huge amount of money, but the textbook publishers would yell bloody murder.

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