What would university be without textbooks? There probably wouldn’t be a lot of learning going on, that’s for sure. While mandatory for most college classes, these hardcovers typically sport a fancy price tag; add together all the ones that you’ll be needing for the entire year and you’re looking at a whole lot of money being put into just books—forget about tuition! According to recent statistics, students spend on average, $1200 a year just on textbooks—that’s probably $1200 more than what most of us want to spend on something that we’ll only be using for a short period of our lives. College students are college students; they don’t have thousands of dollars to shell out for textbooks—so what are their options?
For the majority of us, we turn towards used books. Why spend retail prices on something that you can get for cheaper? The most obvious source of used textbooks is the campus bookstore; while they stock their shelves with expensive new copies, they usually also have a relatively large inventory of second-hands for those who are interested in saving a few hundred dollars. Another option is to buy the book directly from a previous student; there are many ways of going about this including Facebook exchange groups as well as Craigslist.
Although this may require more effort on your part (you have to find and eventually take time out of your schedule to meet them after all), you generally save more money with this route, as people are often open to bargaining. There’s no doubt that buying second hand textbooks is a good way to keep your wallet in check, however it also comes with a downside—in order to recuperate a portion of your money spent, you’ll have to go through the process of relisting for sale after you’re done using it.
What’s a better alternative? Textbook rentals. While the concept may seem odd, it’s actually one that you should be fairly familiar with—just think of it like the library, except the fact that you have to pay a small price to borrow the books. An increasingly popular option, the idea of textbook rentals has easily helped save students thousands of dollars altogether. The good thing about it is that, once you’re done read it, you just return it! This way, you won’t have to worry about having to sell it after your finals exams. It’s straightforward and easy.
As you would expect, there are dozens of companies that offer this service to students in the country. To help make your decision a little easier in regards to which to choose, we’ll be reviewing one of the major textbook rental companies in the US—Textbooks.com.
Overview of Textbooks.com
Since they were first established in 2006, Textbooks.com has been a top contender in the online textbook market—striving to offer students with some of the best possible prices for college books. As a division of one of the world’s largest wholesaler of used textbooks, MBS Textbook Exchange Inc., Textbook.com has access to an unimaginable inventory, giving them an edge in being able to provide most, if not all of the study materials used in universities across the country. Recognizing that not all students prefer physical copies, they also have a vast library of eTextbooks for those interested in doing their learning digitally.
Dedicated to enhancing the college experience for students and lifelong learners, Textbook.com and their employees work to bring customers not only the best selection of books, but also the greatest discounts so that they are able to save their money for the things that they really enjoy! Staying close to their original roots, Textbooks.com currently also acts as a widespread platform for the buying and selling of textbooks. However for the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on the topic of textbook rentals.
Besides their textbook services, Textbook.com also keeps a regularly updated blog that offers a variety of tips for college students—everything from studying tips to dorm survival guides. Go ahead and take a look, you won’t be disappointed with what you read!
How do I Rent a Book from Textbooks.com?
To rent a textbook, you’ll have to know either its title, author or ISBN—usually, this is listed in your course’s required booklist. While that’s the easiest way to look up a book, you can also search by keywords if you don’t have them available on hand. First, you want to type in one of the three parameters into the search bar on the main page; after you’ve inputted it correctly, press the yellow “Search” button. If you’d like to further filter the results, you can conduct an “advanced search” in which you are able to choose between different formats as well as the book’s cover type. After you’ve made your search, you should see a grid of textbooks, with the one you’ve searched for at the top of the page.
From there, you want to click on the title of the textbook; you’ll be brought to a page with more detailed information, including its rental price. Under it, you should also see its inventory status as well its described condition. When you’re satisfied with your selection, press the yellow “add” button to add it into your cart. Once you do so, you’ll be presented with an overview of the books which you’ve chosen—take a second to confirm that you’ve got the right textbooks before hitting the “Checkout” button. An awesome thing about Textbooks.com is that shipping to your house is always FREE with any purchase over $25—that’s practically just the cost of a single book. After heading on to the next page, you will be prompted to enter your shipping details including your mailing address.
Just in case you want the textbook to reach you a little quicker, you’ll have the option of selecting other express shipping methods including UPS 2nd Day Air and UPS Next Day Air for extra fees. To fully take advantage of Textbook.com’s free shipping, it is highly recommended for you to order your textbooks a few weeks prior to when you’ll need them. Continuing on, you will be asked to type in your payment information; should you not want to pay via credit card, you also have the option of doing so via Paypal, which is nice.
As soon as Textbooks.com receives your order, your items will be processed and prepared by their staff. On average, it will about 5-10 business days (it may take longer if shipping to non-continental US) to arrive at your home, given that you’ve opted for the free shipping option. If a textbook comes with supplemental items, they will also be arriving with your book in the shipment. Unfortunately however, Textbook.com does not come with one-time use access codes; if you find yourself needing one, you can purchase one individually from your texts either with them or from the publisher directly.
While Textbook.com does their best to hand-inspect the condition of every one of their books, there may be the rare off chance in which one of lesser quality bypasses their quality control. For reference, a textbook described as “good condition” will always be free of water damage, stains, missing pages, etc. If you are ever unsatisfied with the condition of your book upon receiving it, you are entitled to an exchange within 30 days of placing the order. Simply let them know about the situation, and they’ll be happy to help get you sorted out with a new copy!
In addition to being able to rent physical copies, you are also able to place orders for eTextbooks—that is, digital copies of the same college textbooks. To do so, you just go through the exact same steps as mentioned above, except with the eTextbook specific search bar which is accessible only by clicking “eTextbooks” on the top right corner of the main page. On top of saving a few trees, you will also be given immediate access to the study materials after your order for an e-Book is placed—which means, no more idling around the house waiting for the UPS truck to come by! Accessible on your tablet, laptop or mobile phone, the digital copies are extremely versatile; you can easily highlight text, search specific keywords, print pages, and take notes. Some book titles even have flashcard and text-to-speech options! How’s that for fancy?
Textbook.com’s Competitive Pricing
By getting your study materials from Textbook.com, you can save upwards of 90%—think of all the money that you’d otherwise be spending! By cross comparing their prices with an enormous range of sellers and retailers, they are able to find and offer students the best, most affordable prices for their college textbooks. Dedicated to give their customers real savings every single day, Textbook.com is also excellent at keeping their prices up-to-date; they will always be the lowest in the market—so you know that you will always be getting the greatest deals possible!
Although it’s been mentioned already, it’s really too good of a deal not to talk about again—Textbook.com offers FREE shipping to any purchase over $25! Look around at some of its competitors and you’ll realize almost immediately that none of the other sites, offer such a great deal on shipping. In fact, most require a minimum purchase of $50, sometimes even over $70! Usually with other retailers, you’d want to rent multiple books at a time in order to take the most advantage of its free UPS ground delivery; you wouldn’t meet its minimum with just a single book after all. However with Textbook.com, you could technically order and ship every textbook separately if you really wanted to—since you can probably meet $25 with just one book!
With such awesome savings to be had, there isn’t even a need for further discounts or coupons!
What happens if you change your mind after the textbook arrives on your front step, as some of us may? What happens then? Well, with Textbook.com, you can easily get a refund for your order—just make sure that you do it within 30 days of the original purchase (which should be no problem if you decide to return it right after you’ve received it)! To request a refund, simply mail your textbooks to their return address; although applicable shipping charges will unfortunately be nonrefundable, they will refund your money back as soon as it gets back to their warehouse (e.g. generally 2-4 business days). It can take up to 2 weeks for your funds to be returned back to you, so don’t fret if you don’t get it right away!
If you’d like to return a textbook which you’ve gotten from their Marketplace (as opposed to their warehouse), the exact same procedure applies; the only difference is that you’d have a different return address to send it back to!
If you ever have any questions about returning an item, you can contact the support team over at Textbook.com and they’ll be happy to help you out!
Customer Service and Support
At Textbook.com, they strive to provide the best customer service available so that users of their services are satisfied. Committed to their students, they have an excellent trained support team that is available to assist you with your needs—all you need to do is reach out to them!
First off, if you think that the question you have is a common one, you can search for it in their Help Center to see if anyone before has inquired about it before. Chances are, if you’re running into that particular problem, others before you have as well. To access the Help Page, click on its link at the bottom of the page; you’ll be brought to a list of most frequently asked questions, sorted by categories. If you don’t see your question listed on there, then it’s probably time to contact the team!
To email their customer support, simply fill out the handy form on their Contact Us page (at the bottom of the main site). Select a category for your issue, and remember to leave your name and contact info so that they know how to get ahold of you! After doing so, just type your inquiry in the last box and click “Send.” Once your question is on its way, you can expect to receive a reply from Textbook.com within 1-2 business days.
Alternatively, if you’d like to reach them sooner, you can contact them by phone via their toll-free number: 1-877-292-6443; this would undoubtedly be the fastest, and most efficient way of getting the answers to your questions. Feel free to call them anytime between their office hours; they’re open Monday to Fridays from 8:00am to 6:00pm CST.
Textbook.com is also reachable on social media as well—just click on the distinctive icons at the bottom of the site to get transported to their respective pages!