After speaking to my students (and lurking a bit on pre-med forums), I discovered a few lesser-known ways of getting the books you need. Although textbook rentals are popular on Chegg and Amazon, there are a handful of other sites that pre-meds frequent because of their services, cheap prices, and return/sell-back policies.
Search Engines for Cheap Textbooks
A website that finds the cheapest price for a textbook would be useful, wouldn’t it? Luckily, there are two options available.
- CheapTextbooks.com definitely lives up to its name. After a few searches for myself, this website will give you a list of the cheapest prices for the textbooks you’re looking for after searching a long list of available sellers. Aside from just buying, the site also offers comprehensive price comparisons for students that are also looking to sell or rent.
- Bigwords.com is very similar to CheapTextbooks, but with arguably more options and better searches. Using this engine, you can find very inexpensive textbooks to rent or buy and can also find potential buyers if you are looking to sell. Very useful and I recommend this highly.
Other Sites Worth Mentioning
If you are buying textbooks, most pre-meds are now using search engines to ensure they get the best deals. Oftentimes, these will bring you to two places — Amazon and Half.com, both of which are great, but I was surprised to see Half.com become so popular. Here’s what it has to offer:
- It is partnered with Ebay which means it has a lot of sellers.
- It has rental services.
- You can sell back your textbooks for around 75% of their original value
Because Half.com is very good with selling back textbooks, it has become a pre-med favorite. However, there are two other options that need to be mentioned:
- Mybookcart.com pays you quickly for the texts you don’t need through Paypal for very good rates.
- Amazon’s buyback service has excellent prices for the books you want to sell back, but they pay you with Amazon gift cards which might not be what you’re looking for. If you don’t mind Amazon gift cards, this is a very good option.
In my opinion, your best bet is using the search engines and then finding the cheapest textbooks listed. It cuts out any extra searching on your own time and finds the lowest prices available.
Bottom line: Run, don’t walk to Amazon’s textbook rental program, and then use these Little-Known alternatives to backfill your textbook rental options.