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Bookstores vs. Online

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With the state of our current weakened economy, students are looking for less costly alternatives to obtaining their school book. The biggest financial hurdle for college students after paying for their tuition has traditionally been for them to then pay for their astronomically expensive text books.

Students first have to dedicate a specific amount of time to buy their books, they worry about the quality of the books that they might get when they buy them online, and worry about the expensive cost of what their books would total.

One Skyline student, Tiffany Ong also had to deal with the dilemma between buying her books online versus buying them from the bookstore. Although she did buy every textbook she had this semester from the bookstore, Tiffany said that she “forgot” to buy her books online.

Tiffany also said that she “usually [bought her] books online”, but given the amount of time it usually takes for books to arrive, she opted to pay the “seven-hundred dollars” she paid for textbooks from the bookstore, instead. Thus, here are a few pros and cons for everyone else to consider when ordering your textbooks either online or from the bookstore.

Most textbooks are available for purchase at online vendor websites (such as half.com, abebooks.com, or amazon.com) at a fraction of the price that they are listed at bookstores. Half.com even offers an array of “bargain bin” books, where people can buy variety of used books, all for as low as seventy-five cents per book (not including shipping).

Another pro to ordering books online is that students have the option to order international versions of their books, which according to abebooks.com, “may not include the accompanying CDs, charts or DVDs, [but] most importantly, the price [of the books] is significantly cheaper!”

Buyers are also allowed to track their book purchases as they are being internationally shipped to them by mail with an “order tracking” function now available on half.com, abebooks.com, and amazon.com for almost every book you buy.

A last way for students to benefit from online book shopping would be for them to gain additional discounts on books by signing up as members of their favorite vendor websites.

Conversely, one negative to consider when buying books online is the possibility of having your identity stolen when ordering off of an imitation half.com franchise.

Your books also have the possibility of arriving late or your order could be cancelled by the person you bought it from.

Half.com also has a policy where “refunds cannot be initiated until 8 days after the Estimated Delivery Date. If 8 days have not yet passed, [the buyer would have to] click the Ask Bookseller a Question button to send an inquiry directly to the seller instead,” which would take plenty of unnecessary time.

In addition, if you do have to return your book, according to abebooks.com, “return shipping labels are not provided [with all orders]”. Textbooks are also almost always guaranteed to be at the bookstore and offer the convenience of providing you with books in seconds.

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Bookstores vs. Online