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Q: Tips for Buying Textbooks Online ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   3 Comments )
Subject: Tips for Buying Textbooks Online
Category: Reference, Education and News > Consumer Information
Asked by: joethomas-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 01 Feb 2004 16:35 PST
Expires: 02 Mar 2004 16:35 PST
Question ID: 302583
What are the top 7 things to consider before buying any textbooks
online?  Can be new or used.   I'm a little wary of getting them sight
unseen, not to mention ordering over the Internet.  plus, I just
started searching...and there are SO MANY options.  new?  used?  best
sites?  tips?  thanks!

Request for Question Clarification by answerguru-ga on 01 Feb 2004 16:55 PST
Hi there,

Often your options will vary based on your university/college - can
you tell us where you go to school?


Clarification of Question by joethomas-ga on 01 Feb 2004 18:42 PST
I go to a major (close to 30,000 students) state university on the
east coast.  Does that help?

Also if you feel $5.00 isn't enough, let me know please.

Subject: Re: Tips for Buying Textbooks Online
Answered By: ragingacademic-ga on 02 Feb 2004 09:28 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
joethomas, that's an excellent question.

I often buy textbooks online (just 3 this past week, and one just
arrived by DHL a few minutes ago...), so I am quite knowledgeable in
this specific area.

The first place to go is Glenn Fleischmann's - this is
absolutely the #1 book price comparison site, and you will be able to
quickly locate the most inexpensive options.  Glenn's site also allows
you to calculate prices with shipping and taxes added, so you can
receive a true comparison.

If you are buying your textbook new, you're done - use to
locate the most inexpensive option, purchase it from that site and
wait for the textbook to arrive (note - over the past seven years,
I've purchased hundreds of books and CDs online, and only a couple
failed to arrive, so in general I would not worry.  One thing to look
out for is that when you submit your credit card information the site
you are working with support secure socket layer or SSL - you can
easily verify this by checking that the site address is prefixed by
"https://" rather than by "http://")

If you are buying used, typically I only purchased from Amazon or

In any event check the feedback on the seller - it's worthwhile to pay
a couple of dollars more but to purchase from a seller who has a very
high feedback rating and has completed many transactions; this all
goes to increase the probability of a successful transaction.

For example, on Amazon - say you're shopping for Kotler's Marketing Management:

Book lists for $126.67, but used books start at $44.99

If you look through the various options, you will see that most
feedback ratings in this case are quite low (4.1 seems to be common /
5.0 is the max) and that many of these sellers are either new or have
completed but a handful of transactions.

In this case I would likely purchase from Sene for $59.95; Sene has a
rating of 4.5 and has completed more than 700 transactions.  You may
also want to click through and check what buyers are saying about this

Before completing such a purchase, you'd do well to see what is offering:

You can find this same book here:

You'll immediately see that the same book is offered for less and from
more reputable sellers, but you'll want to carefully read what you are
getting - e.g. a softcover edition, international edition, if includes
CD or not etc.  You can contact the sellers with questions on both of
these sites prior to completing a transaction.

Please do let me know if this is satisfactory - and ask additional
questions if you feel I have not addressed all of your concerns.


Clarification of Answer by ragingacademic-ga on 03 Feb 2004 08:13 PST
joethomas - hi.  Did this reply suffice?  Are you in need of
additional information?


Request for Answer Clarification by joethomas-ga on 04 Feb 2004 18:44 PST
Hi there raging,

I'm going to go through and read it all in the next 24 hours and put
it into a checklist for myself.  Looks good so far - thanks!  I'll
probably tip when I'm done, too. ;)

Clarification of Answer by ragingacademic-ga on 05 Feb 2004 11:11 PST
joethomas - I look forward to hearing more!


Request for Answer Clarification by joethomas-ga on 06 Feb 2004 19:44 PST
thanks! :)

Clarification of Answer by ragingacademic-ga on 06 Feb 2004 22:49 PST
joethomas - thanks much for the rating and the tip!
Happy textbook hunting - and good luck with your studies!

joethomas-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $1.00
Would have liked to have the 7 top things pop out more instead of
needed to read through the answer and try to pull them out. :)

Subject: Re: Tips for Buying Textbooks Online
From: aht-ga on 01 Feb 2004 17:06 PST
Hi joethomas-ga:

When you do begin shopping online for textbooks, you may run across a
lot of seemingly too-low-to-be-true prices on some websites. Many of
these will be because the textbook is the 'international' version, not
meant for sale in the US. You can read the following Answer for more
on this topic:


Google Answers Researcher
Subject: Re: Tips for Buying Textbooks Online
From: joethomas-ga on 01 Feb 2004 17:14 PST
I go to a major (close to 30,000 students) state university on the
east coast.  Does that help?
Subject: Re: Tips for Buying Textbooks Online
From: probonopublico-ga on 01 Feb 2004 21:29 PST
I have bought LOTS of books but not text books thru the Internet, but
not thru ebay.

My experience has been fantastic.

I've found books that I would never have been able to find in the
usual way and booksellers typically have a returns policy.

I've even had cases where some folk have shipped me stuff from
overseas without requiring prepayment.

There are some great guys out there, doing a fantastic job.

I reckon that people who work in bookshops and petshops are some of
the nicest folk around.

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