Online retailers pick up a large percentage of college students looking for an alternative means to obtain textbooks.
“California Baptist University’s bookstore was sometimes a better option for me, when or if I had extra financial aid to obtain a book voucher,” Vanessa Beall, 2011 alumna, said. “Most of the time, I would try to shop around but for the convenience factor, the bookstore is just right there.”
Amazon and Chegg are two online retailers that students turn to as an alternative to the bookstore.
Amazon has a strong marketshare in their book and textbook divisions, with approximately a 30 million customer base, according to marketingteacher.com. The online store provides students, teachers and leisure readers access to a large variety of textbooks, novels, e-books and other types of readings.
Amazon users also have the option to buy or rent new and used books from third party sellers or publishers directly.
The other major competitor, Chegg, is known for providing inexpensive textbook and e-book rentals. Now the company also provides online resources for college students.
Chegg provides a cohesive interface, “The Academic Hub,” which allows students to sell back textbooks, rent or buy textbooks, or buy e-books. Throughout “The Academic Hub,” students have access to expert help in all subjects, course reviewing and planning and an option to sell back used textbooks.
Both Chegg and Amazon have applications for the Android Market Place and Apple’s App Store. These apps allow for reading of e-books and the purchase or rental of any of their products. Amazon currently sells seven different e-readers priced from $69 to $499.
Apple currently offers the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad as e-book reading platforms. Apple’s devices run both Chegg and Amazon’s applications allowing for universal productivity. Apple also offers its own e-reading app, iBooks.
“The iPad really helps (me) out. It gives (me) the option to shop around and find the best prices on books,” Christina Dodd, sophomore, said. “Our campus bookstore comes in handy when (I’m) either in a pinch or don’t want to wait for a physical book to be sent.”
Although students are sometimes stuck when books are only available at certain places, it is always a good decision to shop around when buying textbooks. It is important to research different options, whether it is renting a textbook, buying the book either new or used, or even paying the discounted price for an e-book.