Are Electronic Textbooks for Everyone? Not Necessarily


As students start to buy their textbooks for this semester, a new utility –  the eBook – is gaining substantial popularity and publicity. However, there is  one serious drawback that many eTextbook users have failed to consider – the  open book exam.

While eTextbooks offer some benefits, such as interactive learning and the  ability to avoid carrying around heavy textbooks, there are two serious  drawbacks for many college students.

The first is price. While an eTextbook, in many cases, is downloadable to a  laptop, students will have to carry the laptop to their class, find a power  outlet, and deal with the possibility that their expensive laptop could be  destroyed while on campus. If a student does not want to carry around their  laptop, eReaders are available, but there are some drawbacks. The first is that  the eTextbook that a student downloads may not necessarily be compatible with  all eTextbook readers. While most will work, because of all of the emerging  eTextbook companies, this could be problematic. Furthermore, eTextbook readers  are costly in and of themselves, with prices ranging from $100 – $300 or more.  Finally, eTextbooks are usually more expensive than buying, even new textbooks,  within the secondary market. A textbook comparison site will compare textbook  prices, and generally eTextbooks are 3 or 4 times the cost of what a student  could find a new textbook for.

The second drawback – and perhaps the most important – is the case of the  open book exam. When a student is allowed to use their textbook during an exam,  most of the time professors will not allow a student to have any electronic  equipment available while taking the test. Therefore, students that use  eTextbooks, either on a reader, or on a laptop, may be seriously disadvantaged  if a professor offers them the ability to use their textbook while sitting for  an exam. Since computers and most readers not only allow students to store notes  and other information, but connect to the Internet, it is doubtful that a  professor would allow someone to use these devices – as it would be unfair to  the other students that simply have a book.

Furthermore, a student can use an eTextbook (if the software allows it) to  print off some chapters, but the added costs of paper, and the fact that a  professor cannot guarantee that only the eTextbook information was printed may  prevent the student from using this on an open book exam. Finally, even if a  professor did allow printing of an eTextbook, the costs – at an average of $0.10  per page to print, for a 300 or 400 page selection of the text would cost the  student up to $40. If they do this for the midterm and the final, spending $80  in total, the student will spend many times more than what they could have spent  buying the textbook in the online market.

In short, while eTextbooks offer some great, enhanced content and other  advantages, they will not necessarily save a savvy student any money, and the  student may have to purchase a textbook anyway at either the midterm or the end  of the semester – if a professor allows an open book exam.

A serial entrepreneur, Derek Haake is the founder of that allows college students to compare  textbook prices easily and save up to 80%. Campushiftis a new type of social  network designed to redefine the textbook marketplace by providing students with  access to a free textbook swap database. A student for five and a half years,  Haake was inspired to create Campushift after earning his BA in Political  Science from the University of Texas at Arlington, his MBA from the University  of Akron College of Business, and his JD from the University of Akron School of  Law. After spending a small fortune on textbooks for each of his degrees, Haake  was determined to design a more affordable and sensible way for students to  purchase their books by drawing on his background in software development.  Previously, Haake was an analyst for ALLTEL and he has been a founder or owner  of three different companies in telecommunications and software.

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Facts About Chegg Textbook Rentals

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Just read Martin Rojas’ post on renting textbooks at Chegg. Good article on textbook renting but not many comments. I would be interested to hear what others have to say. My comment was:

Rental is a great way to save money up front.  Buying a used textbook and selling it back may be ultimately cheaper but also has risks if the resale price  drops. I always use a price comparison service to compare rental rates and used rates.

Read the post here:

Cheap textbooks easy to find

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Saw this article by LAUREN IRWIN  on tips to find cheap textbooks in The Maroon and thought she made some good points. What do you think?

Do not let textbook costs become the wet blanket to your new semester excitement. There are numerous tactics that allow scholars to save cash on textbooks from purchasing used or selecting an ebook to looking comparison internet sites or using renting services.  According to  University  Board, the average undergraduate student at a personal varsity spent $1,213 on books and supplies in the 2011-12 college year.  “I’m on a budget,” Caroline Hoffmann, history senior, declared.  “I’d rather spend a day scouring the  Net  so as to find inexpensive textbooks than the convenience and high costs of the bookstore.” That day-long search would possibly not be obligatory with new research tools.  As of 2008, schools are needed by The Further Education Opportunity Act to list textbooks’ ISBNs in course lists, giving scholars advance notice of texts’ costs and permitting them to research prices for a superior deal.  With public access to ISBNs, strong online textbook shopping has ensued.  Many comparison sites ,eg and, have grown in popularity, making online textbook shopping even simpler.  Some students have even taken action ,eg Michael White, previous Tufts  Varsity  undergraduate student and founder of comparison internet site  “We were provoked with bookstore costs and seeing our buddies get ripped off,” White recounted.  “We made GetchaBooks to keep finding textbooks simple and cheap, collecting ISBNs from universities across the land and costs from trusted online book sellers like Amazon and” The comparison format speaks for itself. Let us take the World Civilization to 1650 text “Worlds Together, Worlds Apart” for example : it’s priced around the Loyola bookstore new for $148.50 and used for $111.50, but GetchaBooks shows the same edition can be bought for $70.52 at, $85.99 on Amazon and $70.61 on Amazon  Market-place .

White means that scholars use comparison sites to buy used books but to also find the best place and time to sell back.  Scholars  can regularly make more cash on a text if they sell them online right before the start of the semester, instead of at the end.  “I buy all my textbooks on Ebay or Amazon because its so much cheaper,” finance senior Crystal Locicero declared.

“I sell them on Ebay and make a descent amount back, but it is often a two-week process.” For those strapped for cash and time, renting textbooks could be a great option.  Scholars  can even window shop for rental costs, comparing eFollet rentals to online rentals, on sites like  Chegg, commonly referred to as the Netflix of textbooks, saves scholars cash while removing the load of selling back or holding onto texts.

As an example, the same “Worlds Together, World Apart” text can be rented new at the Loyola bookstore for $96.53 and used for $71.28, but may also be rented for as little as $41.48 on Chegg.  “Most of my pals use Chegg it is an extremely cheap and simple service,” enterprize management senior Ali Burdig declared.

“They even give you a box to send it back in.” However before renting ensure you understand the renting agreement.

The result to using Loyola bookstore renting services is that they are in harmony with the end of Loyola’s semester.  “I like rentals –the bookstore allows you to keep the book till after finals and are typically new copies,” Hoffman declared. Don’t really want to hire or buy?  For those cosy sans physical textbooks, using electronic books may become the new best alternative.  Scholars  could even be capable of finding electronic books free online on sites like Flat World  Data  and Textbook Revolution.  Today, even a straightforward Google search with the text’s title and “PDF” may produce a free online copy.  White advises to save cash scholars should not buy their textbooks far ahead.  “Go to class the 1st week or 2 and judge how much you might need a text before purchasing it,” White related.  “If you are not going to want it that much, it’s always possible to share a copy with a classmate or borrow it from the library.

Rental or Used Textbooks, which is the Best Deal

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Textbooks are a massive cost for students. To reduce this cost scholars are looking towards textbook rentals and purchasing used textbooks.  Both can help to save you over half of the price of purchasing your textbooks new.  But which is the better deal?  Here are two proposals to help identify the best trail for taking your university textbooks.

First you must go to a good textbook price comparison site. Enter your required books ISBN or hunt for your book using title and writer.  Now check out the price comparison results.  The results should ideally include both rental costs and used purchase costs.  The rental costs, and shipping if any, represents your total cost of the book.  You pay the money, they ship you the book, and you return it at the end of the rental period.  For the used books listed by the price comparison site the price is your 1st initial cost with the likelihood of recovering some of this cost when you sell your book at the end of the course.  At this primary step if the comparison list shows use textbooks that are less expensive than rental than this is your least expensive option.  If the used books are a touch more than rental you want to judge your potential sell back price which takes us to step 2.

In step 2 we will try and decide the sell back cost of a second user textbook.  Many price comparison sites include a choice to look up current buy back quotes for used textbooks like this. Naturally this is today’s buyback price but unless a new edition comes out you will be able to get about an identical value when it is time to sell your book.  So take the used price minus the buyback quote to get a very good guess on what your overall cost for the book will be.

This is the pricetag you need to compare to the price.  One game changer is if a new edition comes out. This could considerably devalue the buyback potential of the used textbook and makes renting an interesting offer.  One trick is to perform a search for your textbook utilising the title and writer and not the ISBN. This sort of search should return multiple editions of the same textbook.  Now glance at the printed dates of each version and see if you can see a pattern on how frequently a new edition comes out.  Is it each 3 years, 5 years, or some other average cycle.  This info ought to supply you with a hint if a new edition is approaching.

With just a touch of study you need to find yourself saving a substantial amount on your university textbooks.

To sample a site showing both used and rental textbook prices go here.

It’s college textbook time


Purchasing  school textbooks used to be straightforward : Professors told you what books to purchase.  You went to the school bookstore and purchased them.  At the end of the course, you had the choice to sell them back. Nowadays, it is a bit different and far more expensive, the approximate cost to scholars for textbooks in the 2012-2013 educational year is $1,121. The price of textbooks has traditionally been a major spending for college kids, falling just behind tutoring and accomodation, according to the Minnesota Society of  Licensed  Public Accountants ( MNCPA ).  Today, there are several different options for scholars to think about, including not buying at all, but renting books.  Digital-textbook choices offer scholars new paths to access books and possibly save cash.  Where to buy textbooks today?

The campus book shop.  It’s local, but has it got what you want at the price you are able to afford?  Cruise thru the aisles so that you can compare as you continue your search.

Off-campus bookstores.  These options can go from tiny, local shops to nationwide chains.  Some stores offer loyalty-reward programs derivable on bucks spent.

Textbook-specific sites. There are several, many textbook web sites, which a fast online search will confirm. Speak with other scholars to see where they are finding the keenest prices and most trusty service.

Major brand shops.  Amazon, eBay and even Craig’s List provide many options straight from the retailer or thru their market-place where people sell items.

Electronic textbooks. Rather than dragging your books around, you can buy and download what you want to your e-reader or tablet.  While you can not resell an e-textbook at the end of the semester, they generally tend to cost up to fifty percent less than a new, hardcopy book.  If your reading list includes classical literature that is in the general public domain, you will find websites that provide free downloads.

Rent textbooks. You are now able to rent textbooks rather than buying them.  Firms  offering this service will take your order and deliver it to your local campus book shop for pickup.  At the end of the semester, you take them back, and you are done.

If you make a decision to get online, watch your shipping costs, which can add up swiftly and wipe out your savings. Remember to permit time for delivery so you’ve got the materials in time for class.  Ultimately , be sure to give the vendor helpful feedback in order that they can better serve you in times to come.


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