Textbook Bargains

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Complaints over the high prices of textbooks can be heard in University book stores throughout the country. When individual books come with a one hundred dollar price tag--or more--students are forced to carefully budget and juggle their expenses.

"It's hard because that's what pretty much what my paycheck is every two weeks. That just wipes me out when I'm trying to pay my rent too."

"It adds up every semester, it's really hard."

University stores try to offer competitive prices for new books and also sell used copies at a discount.

But the real deals are often found in cyber space...

You may already be familiar with some of the more popular shopping websites like eBay and amazon.com, but there are also specific sites, designed specifically for textbook sales.

For example, type in the name of your book--let's try "Fundamentals of Anatomy and Physiology" from UNR's Bio 224 class--at Cheapesttextbooks.com.

Acting like a search engine, it will redirect you to one of a dozen sites that carry it. This hefty tome originally cost $145...through phatcampus.com, we're able to buy it for half price...at $72.

Some of the best savings, however, come from outside the country. Using the British version of Amazon.com, we were able to find a UNR Psychology 101 textbook for half price!

The secret is that American publishers often sell the same books to foreign distributors for much, much less in order to stay competitive.

"It was kind of the publishers' dirty little secret for a long time that they would do that. With the internet, people started realizing they were being sold in other places. Now the publishers are having to step back and look at that. I think in the next five years, they're going to have to do something to level the playing field," says Tom Davies, the General Manager of the UNR Bookstore.

If you choose to shop online, there are some issues to take into consideration:

- Make sure you are buying the correct edition from the right year
- And that you can receive it in time for class
- Shipping costs greatly vary, depending on the site
- University stores rarely charge tax, but many online stores will
- They also might not let you return the book--especially if it's used--or offer refunds.

Shopping for textbooks online can be a gamble...but one that can pay off dearly.

Here are some popular website for bargain textbooks: