Buying Used Textbooks Online

Helpful tips, buying hints and resources for buying used textbooks online and saving on college expenses.

Buying a used textbook can be a great way to save hundreds of dollars a semester. Even if you already buy your used textbooks at the university bookstore, you can save much more by buying used textbooks online. Price is important, but make sure to look beyond the price and consider the condition of the book, the edition, CD’s or other supplementary materials, and the shipping costs. The 8th edition in very good condition for $25 more may be a much better value than the 7th edition in fair condition for $20.  Click here to start saving on used textbooks now!

Evaluating textbook condition

Decide how important the condition is for you. If you want a pristine copy, a used textbook may not be for you. If you don’t mind a bit of highlighting or underlining, then a used copy can be a great value. Pay close attention to the details of the book description so you know what to expect. Detailed descriptions are a good sign of a conscientious bookseller.

Standard terms for book conditions in order from best to worst are:

  • As New or Fine – without defects
  • Near Fine – only minor defects
  • Very Good – some signs of wear
  • Good or Fair – shows significant wear (highlighting, underlining or minor spots/stains), but is complete and intact
  • Poor or Acceptable or Reading Copy – more significant wear (stained or loose pages or binding), but still complete and readable.

CDs, Online Access, or other extras

If the textbook normally comes with a CD, an online access code, or other supplementary materials, make sure that the description notes whether the used copy includes these items.  Click on the listing to see the detailed description.

Don’t procrastinate

As the school season gets underway, demand for textbooks (especially used textbooks) at cheap prices increases dramatically.  This not only limits the availability of the particular textbook edition you’re looking for but can also increase market prices.  Buying early ensures you get the textbook you want at the price you want – when you need it.

Shipping costs and delivery

When looking at shipping costs, pay attention both to the cost of shipping and the expected delivery date. Both shipping rates and estimated delivery times can vary widely among different sellers. Don’t be reluctant to pay a bit extra for faster shipping.  Review shipping rates and choose between standard or expedited shipping on the shopping cart page before you continue to Checkout.

P.S. – if you’re buying textbooks for schools or institutions, be sure to check out how you can buy textbooks with a purchase order!


  • My first visit…

    Hello! This is my 1st comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and tell you I truly enjoy reading your articles. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that deal with the same topics? Thank you!…

  • … Biblio.com…

    […] There you will find more Infos: biblio.com/blog/2010/08/buying-used-textbooks-online/ […]…

  • They are soooo right! Textbooks can become very expensive. But I also remember saving hundreds of dollars back in the day on Used College Textbooks and finding good deals like what you guys are offering here.

  • I sell books on Biblio, so my perspective might be of interest. I would suggest talking with your instructor about what their limit on earlier editions might be..and be sure to match up to their standards. Not every class requires the most current edition, but some might. Then after satisfying the required title, I would try to find other texts that cover similar material and get 1 or 2 at best price. It is nice to have several options when some material is not clear, and a cheap “other view” is like a personal tutor, and a great help. Biblio can sometimes offer these second opinion books at very reasonable delivered costs.

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