Now Amazon just seems to be toying with the retail book stores of America. The online behemoth has long been hated by many bricks-and-mortar booksellers for the hugely discounted prices it charges on books and other items traditionally sold in book stores. And then there’s Amazon’s Kindle e-book reader which some stores blame for dropping sales. Now Amazon is getting into one business still dominated by college book stores: textbook rentals. [More]
Earlier this month, Tom ordered a microbiology textbook from the Amazon Marketplace. It arrived in the mail later that week, and everything was fine. Then he received another copy of the book the next day. Then a third, and a fourth. All of the books were identical, and his credit card was only charged for the first one. What was going on here? More importantly, what was he supposed to do with the extra textbooks? [More]
Many students are familiar with the frustrating ritual at the end of any college term — selling back those costly textbooks, only to be handed back a fraction of the cash you originally paid. The “Textbook Rebellion” campaign is all about lowering that initial high price. [More]
The New York Times Bucks Blog has a great feature on finding textbooks for less. There’s a great list of comparison sites in there. Don’t forget too the option of e-textbooks at sites like CafeScribe. Having all the text digitized not only makes it lighter and more portable, but you can easily CTRL-F if you’re trying to find a key phrase or concept. [More]
Is your college’s semester a little longer than most? If you use the textbook rental service Chegg.com: that’s too bad. They need your books back now. Shawn reports that even though he needs his textbook until December 23rd, Chegg claims that they need it back by the 20th, or they’re going to charge him full price, even if he gets an extension. Is that company policy? Well…. no. [More]
What’s worse than paying ridiculous prices for textbooks? Paying a slightly less ridiculous price for a textbook, then never receiving the book or the refund the company promises. In October, more than halfway through the semester, Emily was forced to request a chargeback for a book that she never received. She suspects that the company never mailed it at all, and they also never issued her a promised refund. [More]
Billed as the first interactive, all-digital science textbook, Life on Earth will teach students about the birds, bees, flowers and trees — and do so for free. [More]
The second half of summer is “complain about textbook prices” season, and last week the New York Times put together a special section on the topic and asked experts to weigh in. Too many of the contributors just provide an overview of the situation but no solutions; a publishing industry representative actually defends textbook prices as trivial compared to other educational costs. Fortunately Anya Kamenetz, who writes for Fast Company, suggests Flat World Knowledge. And to be fair, the guy who defended textbooks prices suggests CourseSmart for ebook rentals. The Times also asked students, professors and parents to weigh in with advice. [More]
Consider buying textbooks for college students on your holiday buying list who are tough to shop for, helping them out by defraying an oppressing educational cost, the personal finance blog Poorer Than You advises. [More]
If you’re going to school at a Florida state university, your fee burden just grew a little bit lighter:
Robert ordered a defective textbook from Amazon, which let him return the book outside its 30-day return policy. Amazon let him do so without trouble, but that wasn’t even the coolest thing the e-tailer did for him. When Robert received the next book, with the same defect — it too was missing codes he needed for his lab — he decided to go to the school bookstore to buy a copy with the codes he needed. The CSR told Robert he could keep the second book and gave him a full refund. He writes:
It’s that magical time of year, when the bright, shining faces of college freshmen fall as they take their first look at modern textbook prices. Reader S., a manager at a college bookstore, read our post yesterday about custom college bookstore “packets” used to prevent students from purchasing their textbooks used. He sent us some tips about how to spot and avoid special profit-seeking textbook bundles, and how to actually save some money by…purchasing from the college bookstore?
Students who prefer to shop for textbooks online are encountering a hitch in their efforts. University and College courses are increasingly using bundled versions of textbooks that come with their own ISBN number. School book stores sell the packets as a single item, because their contents don’t come itemized.
This story is a little old, but was just brought to our attention this weekend. Elsevier, which is sort of the Death Star of academic publishing, was caught offering $25 Amazon gift cards to professors who gave the book five-star reviews on Amazon.
Abel’s Copies is standing by their strict “No Refunds” policy even after ordering the wrong course packet for reader David. The workers at the off-campus bookstore near the University of Texas at Austin insisted there was only one instructor for David’s course and that they couldn’t order a new course packet unless David paid in advance. When David got home, he realized that Abel’s sold him the wrong packet. He called the store and learned that Abel’s had the right packet in stock for $25 less than he paid—but Abel’s refused to issue a refund…