Monday, January 10, 2011

Textbook Tips: The Best Product, Price and Place

Starting college last year was a new experience for me. After going through the minefields of admission, registration, and advising I thought the hard part was over. However, successfully navigating the textbook maze and avoiding textbook pitfalls is equally important. A few questions plaguing me were: Who has the best price? Do I buy online or at a store? Should I rent or purchase? Which is better digital or paper?
On the Vol State site select FUTURE STUDENTS then CLASS SCHEDULE, followed by SEARCH CLASS SCHEDULE. These dropdown boxes will enable you to choose your subject, course and time leading you to the TEXTBOOK and SUPPLY INFORMATION link. Once you have verified the items needed, you are prepared for the next phase of your quest: Buying textbooks.
First let’s talk about the good the bad and the ugly when dealing with online companies like Amazon, Chegg, Ebay and countless other sites. Here is an additional link that allows you to compare various vendors’ side-by-side.
Here are the things you need to be aware of when buying from the web:
1) Beware of fly by night companies and investigate their track record to avoid scams. Even Craigslist, Amazon and Ebay have been abused by crooks. You don’t want your credit card information compromised.
2) Have all the proper information. ISBN, Author, title and edition to ensure you are ordering the correct material. Nothing is more frustrating than getting the right book but the wrong edition.
3) Confirm the shipping date before finalizing order. Some companies have backlog and you are better off paying a little more from a different company for a reasonable timeframe.
4) Understand the return policy. This can be a nightmare when you order the wrong book or the material is changed by the instructor. If you purchased a new book from a reputable company like Amazon you have a good chance of just paying for return shipping and possibly a small restocking fee. However, if you buy a used book from another vendor and run into the same problem, you may be stuck with an unwanted schoolbook.
5) Before confirming your purchase, check that all necessary access codes, software and additional material is included. Many students have been thrilled to save money on a book only to find they need additional components like access codes and software. This is common in language and science books. It is possible to still save money by purchasing both the book and the code separately but just be aware before you click the buy button.
Tune in tomorrow to get the skinny on buying from the campus book store and other retail locations.

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