Amazon Textbook Rental Races to Save Students Serious Coin

I saw a Tweet roll by last week that mentioned a mother who had a $1000 bill for textbooks. I think I actually blinked twice to confirm. It was true, she’d spent a grand on textbooks for her daughter’s first semester of college!

Chloe of @ChloeCardash had a high bill, too, Tweeting, “Spent $500 on school textbooks #highwayrobbery.” And while not as transparent in the final cost, @IyanaNicole is handing over an entire week’s pay, Tweeting, “Yay my last paycheck of the summer is getting spent on these damn textbooks. Yea nothing better than that.”

I don’t recall ever spending more than $500 in a single semester, which even 10 years ago felt painfully high. It wasn’t until my last two years of college that buying books online really became a thing, and then I discovered used textbooks on Amazon. My textbook bill dropped to a mere couple hundred dollars each semester, and on a student-loan driven budget, that was a major win.

Amazon was my go-to for selling textbooks, too. I was always astonished when I’d spend $75 on a brand new textbook in August, and then have the bookstore offer me $12 after finals. At Amazon, I was able to recoup almost all of my expense selling the book myself.

The leading online book retailer is stepping up again for college students, launching a textbook rental service just in time for fall semester. Remaining competitive with other book rental services, like Chegg, Amazon will cover the shipping cost for the books’ return when you’re finished with them. If you have an Amazon Prime account for students, the purchase shipping is free, too! All you’re left to pay is the cost of the book that Amazon advertises at up to a 70 percent discount. Read the rest of this entry »

Textbook Price Comparison for Renting, Buying or Shopping Online

Lately there has been a lot of debate concerning the best way to procure your textbooks for the next semester.

“Is it better to buy from your school’s bookstore?“

“How about an online site, like or Amazon?”

“What about renting? That’s the latest trend, right?”

I really was not sure what I was going to do this semester. My parents are making me pay for all of my books, so I definitely want to go the cheapest route possible.

I decided the best plan of attack would be to make a chart to compare my options.  I found out which books I will be taking next semester, and here’s what I came up with.

In three out of four cases, renting textbooks from is the cheapest option. However, the downside to renting my books is that I cannot keep them after I am done with them. Sometimes, this would make me really sad because – contrary to popular belief – some college books are actually kind of cool. However, this is not the norm, so I guess saying “adios” to my books at the end of the semester wouldn’t be too bad. Read the rest of this entry »

Price Comparison Reveals Cheapest and Most Expensive Textbooks Sources [INFOGRAPHIC]

After tuition, the heaviest financial burden facing college students is the textbook bill. With some titles costing a couple hundred dollars a piece, a semester’s worth of books can set back some students more than a thousand dollars.

With the campus bookstores being the most convenient locally, and dozens of textbook retailers available online, the choices can be overwhelming with the bill be underwhelming. So where should you look?

Click on this infographic to see the full-sized image and reveal the cheapest and most expensive places to buy books.

College Textbooks Price Comparison

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Amazon Prime Free to Students for One Year

amazon-students-programAmazon is offering a new program called Amazon Students to any U.S. student with a “.edu” email address who is enrolled in at least one course. The program incorporates Amazon’s Prime service, which features two-day free shipping with no purchase minimum and special student deals. That means any discounted textbooks that can be purchased from Amazon will be shipped for free–and students won’t have to worry that their savings will be spent in handling costs. Plus, two day shipping rivals the campus bookstore for convenience. Read the rest of this entry »

Kindle Lawsuit Awards Wronged Student

kindle lawsuitIn July 2009, Amazon decided to remove some content from thousands of Kindles. They removed every copy of George Orwell’s 1984, including the notes high school student Justin Gawronski’s had taken for his summer assignment.

Amazon deleted two books by Orwell, 1984 and Animal Farm, from their inventory when the publishing company decided they did not want their books to be electronically available. In addition to just removing the books from being able to be purchased, Amazon deleted those books from the Kindles of users who had already purchased the books. In this process, they also deleted any notes or comments that users had made in their personal Kindles about the book that they had purchased.

Some have called Amazon the homework-eating-dog of the 21st century. Gawronski decided to sue Amazon for destroying his homework. And on October 1, 2009, he won. He won big, earning $150,000 in the lawsuit. Read the rest of this entry »

Princeton Students to Expel Kindle DX from Class

kindle dxIn a pilot program at Princeton to assess the value of Amazon’s Kindle DX for students, it seems the class has graded the gadget as a no pass.

Fifty students were given the digital e-reader in the test, and after a mere two weeks of being used in three classes, students are “dissatisfied and uncomfortable.” One student made his case by saying it’s “a poor excuse of an academic tool.”

The greatest criticism is coming from the lack of ability to highlight, mark pages, or make notes in margins. Additionally, anyone trying to cite a page number is out of luck, with one student calling it “meaningless.”

It’s entirely likely that the Kindle DX won’t see the light of day in the spring semester.

Textbooks Being Made Obsolete by Amazon Kindle

kindleAlmost one year ago, Amazon launched the Kindle with the sole purpose of cornering the digital books market. For those of you that don’t know, this gadget is a fully functional digital library. Since our previous story on the Kindle, Amazon has made some much-needed updates including a larger screen, sleeker profile, and greater storage capacity.  They have also integrated a 3G wireless network enabled browser within the system to allow for a 60 second download of your favorite title.

In an attempt to broaden the uses of this device to college students around the world, Amazon has made an agreement, dubbed “The Kindle Project,” with six universities. Amazon has agreed to provide the Fall 2009 freshman class of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Pace University, Princeton University, Reed College, Darden School at the University of Virginia and Arizona State University with Kindle devices preloaded with electronic versions of their chemistry, computer science and freshman seminar classes. Read the rest of this entry »

WorldCat Gives Students Modern Access to Public Libraries

WorldCat is the catalog system that lets you search most public libraries across the nation, and has updated their website to reflect the growing social networking trend. Once setting up an account, you can then manage your profile, which allows you to do such cliché things as upload your picture, list your interests and link to your personal website or blog. Then you can list your favorite libraries, rate and review the books that you have read and also follow people with similar reading habits as you or who keep a list that you might be interested in. You can also follow individual people via RSS or push your own RSS feed to your social network of choice, such as Twitter, FriendFeed, or MySpace. If you spy a book that is worth owning, you can click straight to its page on, indicating that WorldCat may also have a new revenue stream aiding these developments. Read the rest of this entry »


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