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Author: rasheed One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 2818  
Subject: Re: Buying Textbooks Online Date: 1/23/2000 8:46 PM
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Recommendations: 5
I've been buying textbooks online since 1996 and now that my brother has started college, I buy books for him. Here are my suggestions:

For new textbooks, the cheapest, reputable sites are:
ecampus.com
textbooks.com
bigwords.com
varsitybooks.com

For used textbooks, the cheapest sites are:
ecampus.com
bigwords.com

Never buy textbooks from general bookstores like amazon.com. You will always pay too much. (You will only save on novels for your literature classes.) Swaps and student-ran programs don't get enough interest, and you'll end up wasting time in most cases trying to find books this way. Only programs where you buy books from buddies at your own school works well.

Other stores continue to pop up all of the time, but the ones above have enough supply chain structure to be the best in fullfilling orders at this time.

Before the start of the new semester or quarter, get all of the ISBNs for your new textbooks from your bookstore. Check all of the sites as prices and promotions vary all of the time. I have ordered books from different sites all for the same school session if the prices were cheaper at different places. It doesn't matter because shipping is usually free or cheap. Take into account tax charges when necessary.
Order books at least two weeks before you need them to allow time for companies to order books from publishers.

I have ordered at sometime or another from all of these stores. My comments for each of the stores are:

bigwords.com
They have a pre-buy (15% off program) which is great.
40% discount on top 40 books
Phone support is good.
Has used books.
Shipping is free (With $35 min purchase)
Beware of delays on back-ordered books (allow 2-3 weeks).
I bought new books below cost using the 40% and 15% discount together with free shipping.

ecampus.com
After your first purchase, they email you $20 coupons all the time.
Shipping is free.
50% discount on top 50 books.
Has used books.
Phone support is good.
Beware of delays of back-ordered books (allow 2-3 weeks).
Great if you need books right away and they are in stock.

textbooks.com
No standard discounts except Student Advantage (10%)
Shipping is $4.95 (usually enough to keep me away from this vendor)
Books are close to full-price.
Poor used book supply.
Only sells books in-stock.
Great if you need books right away.

varsitybooks.com
Prices have been pretty high.
After your first purchase, they email you coupons all the time (right now, I have a $20 off $25 purchase plus free shipping one).
No used books.
Shipping is usually $4.95 (enough to keep me away)
Only sells books in-stock.
First time $10 discount available, see different college sites for link.
I purchased new books below cost here only because of a crazy $50 off promotion when you spend $100 from collegeclub.com (promotion no longer exists).
Phone support is good.
Great if no one else has the book you need in-stock and you need it right away.

Rasheed
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