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I wish this was available when I went to school. As current college students, college graduates, and even college professors can attest to, textbooks are expensive. Consistent demand, writing and arranging costs, printing fees, and much more render the useful providers of knowledge (necessary providers of knowledge, for college students) relatively pricey to produce.
However, it’s when these relatively stiff production costs are amplified by a 50-100% markup that students’ wallets are really endangered.
And the fact is that this markup is common at the vast majority of brick-and-mortar bookstores; it’s necessary to turn a profit, and more than this, it’s a logical byproduct of the aforementioned consistent demand. When a steady stream of college students require the same textbook each semester, prices can safely be raised.
To save as much money as possible and enjoy as much convenience as possible, textbook purchasers need to explore the entirety of the market, nabbing the best prices in the process. And the simplest and most straightforward way to do so is by shopping online.
Although most college students shop online for essentially all products besides college books, something—perhaps it’s tradition or obligation—prompts a large percentage of these individuals to purchase their required books from traditional stores.
In short, there’s never been a better time than today for college students to experience the perks and advantages of buying online. And to help persuade those who’re on the fence to make the jump and buy textbooks online, let’s take a look at what separates online textbook shopping from traditional buying!
Everyone knows that items, as a general rule, are available for less on the internet than they are in stores. When a customer is shopping in a store, that store has a virtual monopoly on his or her business; online shoppers, inversely, are free to navigate to different websites with a simple click, and each of these websites is willing to work for his or her business. Less competition and high demand drive bookstores’ textbook prices up; much more competition and more dispersed demand drive online textbook distributors’ prices down.
There’s no telling what students can do with money saved by purchasing textbooks online. How about a fun summer vacation? Better yet, a down payment on a new car!
Speaking with employees, paging through books to check for damage, verifying the edition and year, and many other hassles come with the textbook purchasing process in physical stores. Online textbook sellers—especially well-known companies, like the highly touted BooksRun—prominently display pertinent edition, condition, and publishing information; students can therefore pick-out their desired book in just a few minutes. Moreover, online textbook marketplaces also allow students to search for their exact book, eliminating guesswork in the process.
Between balancing their studying, work, and social lives, college students are busy enough; there’s no need to waste time buying books from physical stores, particularly when online marketplaces can be accessed through any internet-connected computer or phone.
Quick Delivery Options
Online distributors of college-required books understand that some students’ needs are particularly urgent; perhaps an ultra-important book has been misplaced, for instance.
Accordingly, these same online companies offer multiple quick-delivery options. That’s not to say that their normal delivery speeds aren’t quick, because they are. However, it is to say that overnighting a needed textbook is often the most cost-effective course of action; this shipping fee and textbook cost may very well be less than the total price charged by a bookstore—and that’s saying something!
Rental and Buyback Options
Many online textbook sellers also offer students the opportunity to rent their required items. In practice, this means that substantial sums of money can be saved, provided that a book is only required for a short period of time. Additionally, many marketplace websites (like the aforementioned BooksRun), which feature books from a plethora of sellers, allow students to resell their books when they’ve finished using them. In some instances, students can make a couple dollars on their textbook transactions!
Numerous eBook Options
It’s not a secret that eBooks and digital content generally are becoming more and more prevalent with each passing day. In response to this exciting fact, quite a few of today’s leading online textbook marketplaces (including—and it can’t be helped that they have a lot to offer—BooksRun) give customers the option to buy or rent eBooks.
These eBooks can be downloaded in seconds, accessed on a multitude of devices, and are, as a general rule, vastly more affordable than their physical counterparts—and their digital counterparts being sold on other websites.
Those who own a tablet or a reading device should consider going digital and buying an eBook; the benefits of doing so are too valuable to ignore.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line, as was briefly mentioned, is that there’s never been a better time than today to buy textbooks online. Money will be saved, additional convenience will be enjoyed, and when trade-ins and sales are considered, there’s a fantastic chance that customers will break even or make a couple bucks on the transaction.
Thanks for reading, and here’s to saving money and making the most out of college!