It is no secret that textbooks are expensive. Every college student’s wallet suffers when the beginning of the semester – and book buying time – comes around. Fortunately, SlugBooks offers a simple, stress-free way to find the lowest available cost for your textbook.
How SlugBooks Works
SlugBooks’ methods are straightforward: simply type in your textbook’s ISBN, and you will receive the book’s list price alongside the lowest prices available from a variety of vendors. These vendors – Amazon, Chegg, etc. – partner with SlugBooks to make these price readings available. Prices are shown for purchases and rentals, with an additional unmarked Student Exchange option.
As you search for books, SlugBooks will keep your books in a list. This way, you can see your whole list of textbooks at once. In case you are worried about the website keeping a cache, it also provides an option to clear your search history.
In addition, if you have a textbook that you want to sell, SlugBooks is one of many sites that gives you that ability. The textbook search functions the same way, and selecting the Sell It option will link you to three online buyback sites – also SlugBooks partners – with estimated buyback rates. If you would rather not sell to an online buyback site, you can instead link to the SlugBooks Student Exchange with your Facebook account to list your copy for purchase. This feature is particularly useful when looking for books that are nearby and readily available, as the Exchange centers on university location.
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The biggest positive of the SlugBooks system is the list price. This gives you a tangible benchmark for evaluating seller prices. For example, if the list price of a book is $21.95, you do not want to buy a used copy from your school for $32.64. This way, you are not just selecting the lowest price, but you are understanding the value of the book itself.
A second positive is the aforementioned Student Exchange. Many times, schools will refuse to buy back books for entry-level courses, yet makes every student purchase a new copy of the textbook. By participating in the Student Exchange, you can easily connect to incoming students at your school who need the same textbook for the same course.
Finally, SlugBooks almost always provides lower prices than schools. As an example, I selected three textbooks for a Medieval History course at Southern New Hampshire University. The three books at their lowest available prices at the school – all used rentals – totaled $25.79. Conversely, at their lowest available price in SlugBooks’ listings, all three books were available for used purchase totaling $21.17. While those savings only total $4.62, savings like this add up as you purchase more and more textbooks. The more expensive the textbook is at list price, the higher a chance your savings will be more obvious.
While SlugBooks offers a wealth of information, it also has its drawbacks. The Student Exchange can be limited for smaller or private schools. If there are no sellers at your university, chances are it will not show up on the list at all.
Furthermore, since SlugBooks partners with vendors, its scope is still limited. Sites such as Half.com and Thriftbooks could have lower prices for the books you want, but SlugBooks does not show their prices. This means that, while SlugBooks is a fantastic one-stop site for price comparisons, finding the absolute lowest price available might take further research.
SlugBooks also lists prices from third party sellers via Amazon. While this is most effective in getting you the lowest price possible, it also increases your chance of purchasing a book from a distant location. If you choose to purchase from third party sellers, you may not get your textbook as quickly. All this requires is a bit of extra attention in order to avoid long shipping times.
The final and greatest drawback of SlugBooks is that their prices do not account for shipping and handling fees. While a book may be $10 from your school and $8 from an Amazon seller, that seller might charge $3 for shipping, while the school bookstore will allow free pickup on campus. Before buying a book online at a discounted price, make sure you know the company’s shipping fees. Otherwise, you are not saving money at all.
SlugBooks is a powerful price comparison tool that works with the sole purpose of saving people money. It is consistent, effective, and useful. While it may take some extra work to ensure you are getting the best possible price, its results are always trustworthy, high-quality, and accurate. It is one of the best and most user-friendly textbook comparison tools out there.