Dropping Prices on Textbooks Means Rising Savings for Students

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As many students receive their reading lists for fall classes, they are increasingly turning to the web to realize dramatic savings on their textbooks. Often these savings amount to 50% or more compared with their campus bookstore prices - even for used textbooks.

Students and parents are painfully aware of the increasing cost of tuition and books

Biblio.com, one of the world's largest marketplaces for used, rare, and out-of-print books, is already seeing a sharp increase in traffic to its site in the last 10 days as it gears up for the fall back-to-school textbook season.

As many students receive their reading lists for fall classes, they are increasingly turning to the web to realize dramatic savings on their textbooks. Often these savings amount to 50% or more compared with their campus bookstore prices - even for used textbooks.

The explosive growth of the online textbook market has not gone unnoticed by major online retailers such as Biblio.com. In its 2006 Used-Book Sales Study, the Book Industry Study Group (BISG) found that textbooks accounted for 34.7% of all used-book units sold, and a whopping 1.6 billion dollars in total sales in 2004. Used textbooks accounted for more than 75% of revenue from used books sold in the U.S. that year.

That study was conducted based on 2004 sales and online textbook sales continue to soar. Textbook sales on Biblio.com alone have more than quintupled since that time. In part, this is due to increased competition among textbooks sellers that has continued to edge the prices on textbooks down even further over the past three years. For example, Biology by Campbell and Reece is one of the most widely used college textbooks in the U.S. It's also Biblio.com's best selling textbook. Just two years ago, the latest edition sold for as low as $72 on Biblio.com. In August 2007, it now sells for a little more than $50, a decrease of more than 30% and a total savings of more than 66% off the $153.33 retail price.

"Students and parents are painfully aware of the increasing cost of tuition and books," says Allen Singleton, Chief Operating Officer of Biblio.com. "though they are probably less aware that online textbook costs are actually falling, that's a rare chance to save on school costs."

For those students who go online to take advantage of the savings available, Biblio.com offers the following recommendations:

Textbook Buying Tips:
Check with your course instructor of the class to see if an older edition might be acceptable for the course. Often the major difference between editions is simply page numbering and small changes to the illustrations

If possible, purchase multiple textbooks from the same online bookseller to reduce your shipping costs.

Plan ahead: be sure to order as soon as you know your required texts. Don't wait until the last minute to order textbooks as delays can sometimes occur in delivery.

Try ordering your textbooks from booksellers that are geographically near you. Often this can mean shorter delivery times.

Try to order from professional booksellers rather than from individuals selling a few books online. You'll generally get more reliable service.

Make certain that the copy of the textbook you purchase contains the required components, where applicable, such as a CDROM. Don't hesitate to contact the online bookseller directly and make sure all the additional or supplemental materials are part of your purchase.

If you can't reach the seller of the textbook directly by email or phone, or there is a long delay in responses to your questions, you may want to reconsider purchasing from that seller.

Biblio.com
Biblio.com is one of the leading sources for new, used, rare, out-of-print, and hard-to-find books in the world. With the launch of their online service in 2003, Biblio.com entered a market dominated by several major companies, as well as more than a dozen smaller competitors. With substantial growth in the last four years, Biblio.com has gone from a fledgling company to becoming the third largest site of its kind in the world. Biblio.com now offers more than 50 million titles from more than 5500 independent booksellers in 38 countries.

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Stephen Bakes

Brendan Sherar
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