Textbook Debate: Buy or Rent? Online or in Store?

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CampusBooks Integrates Purchase and Rental Options from the Internet, College Book Stores and Libraries to Create the Most Comprehensive Textbook Store in the World

CampusBooks iPhone app home screen.

Students still buy the vast majority of their textbooks at their campus bookstore. We are the first and only textbook comparison site to integrate prices from these outlets.

According to a 2005 study by the Government Accountability Office, the price of textbooks rose six percent each year from 1986 to 2004. That is twice the rate of inflation. According to College Board, the average U.S. college student spent $1,122 on textbooks for the 2009-2010 academic year, a 32 percent increase from five years earlier.

In recent years many options have emerged to address the skyrocketing price of textbooks. Sites such as Chegg and BookRenter have emerged offering textbook rental programs. Major online retailers like Amazon and Half.com have answered with used textbook initiatives. Finally, on campus bookstores, in partnership with book retailers such as Barnes & Nobel and Rent-A-Text, have begun offering rental programs at over 1,000 college campuses.

Today students can buy or rent books online or on campus. The rapidly growing number of options has created fierce price competition. However, much of the pricing information was previously unavailable. That all changed this year. In 2008 Congress passed the Higher Education Opportunity Act, which required all college bookstores to publically list their new, used and rental textbook prices no later than June, 2010. CampusBooks is the first textbook price comparison site to take advantage of this public data.

Through it’s website, iPhone and Android applications CampusBooks allows students to compare prices and availability from over 40 of the best-known online textbook retailers. Starting today those students will also be able to check prices and availability of books at thousands college bookstores and libraries from across the country. Students who enter their location into the CampusBooks website or use geo-targeting technology on their mobile devices can find the closest brick-and-mortar locations where their books are available.

"Students still buy the vast majority of their textbooks at their campus bookstore," says Jeff Cohen, CEO of CampusBooks. "We are the first and only textbook comparison site to integrate prices from these outlets. We even tell students if their book is available at their college library. So whether you want to buy, rent or borrow, online or on campus, CampusBooks provides pricing information from every possible source of college textbooks."

With purchase and rental, online and on campus data, CampusBooks is the most comprehensive textbook outlet. A student sitting in their dorm at Notre Dame might search for a Biology textbook on CampusBooks and find that the book is available to rent at her college bookstore. Another student shopping at the same college bookstore might not be able to afford a textbook. Using the iPhone app to scan the barcode of a book, this student might find that the book is available for free at the Notre Dame library.

CampusBooks delivers students the widest choice of textbook purchase, rental. Students can easily determine what route they want to take when they have all the accurate information in front of them.

About CampusBooks:
CampusBooks.com is a free service that searches the Internet for the lowest prices on new and used textbooks.

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Jaspar Weir
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