New Cheapism Research Identifies the Best Websites for Affordable Textbooks

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Textbooks.com and BookRenter.com earn top grades in the review site’s roundup of recommended websites.

Many students prefer to rent textbooks because of the super cheap prices and the knowledge that they won’t have a bunch of books taking up space when the semester ends.

As college students prepare to return to school, Cheapism.com, a review site dedicated to finding quality low-cost products, has identified the best places to find cheap college textbooks online. Textbooks.com, BookRenter.com, Chegg.com, and TextbooksRus.com make the list of recommended websites based on price, customer service, return process, and shipping. The textbook websites claim to offer textbook prices 40 percent to 90 percent lower than campus bookstores. As for how the websites themselves compare, prices depend on the book you buy.

All the top sites in Cheapism’s report sell new and used textbooks. They also rent textbooks and buy used books from students who don’t need them anymore. Many consumers like paying lower prices for used textbooks, according to reviews, but some gripe that the buyback rate is much lower than the original price, you may miss out on supplemental materials, and there is always the chance of getting a book with defects. The latter two points are also downfalls of textbook rentals. Many students prefer to rent textbooks, however, because of the super cheap prices and the knowledge that they won’t have a bunch of books taking up space when the semester ends.

Cheapism’s top picks, Textbooks.com and BookRenter.com, earn high praise in textbook website reviews. Users find Textbooks.com easy to work with, reliable, and timely. BookRenter.com garners applause for free shipping both ways on rentals, a pain-free return process, and books that arrive in good condition. Runners-up Chegg.com and TextbooksRus.com receive mostly good reviews. However, some consumers report hiccups with buybacks, refunds, and customer service.

Digital textbooks, or etextbooks, are growing in popularity and eliminate the stress of shipping books back and forth. Chegg.com is the only website on Cheapism’s list that offers a proprietary etextbook app, which is needed to read etextbooks on an Internet-connected computer or iPad. Amazon also offers etextbook rental and this week debuted a rental service for regular textbooks.

About Cheapism.com
Called by The New York Times “a Consumer Reports for the cheap,” Cheapism.com is a review site that serves consumers on a budget who want the best value for their money. Cheapism is the only review site that focuses exclusively on low-price products, a part of the market often overlooked by experts.

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Max Levitte
Cheapism.com
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