Best Book Prices
Since I was looking to buy some books, I went through and examined nearly 20 sites that do a metasearch of book stores. My most important criteria was whether the site found the cheapest price for a given book. Surprisingly, many of them failed on even that count. Either their price was outdated, they didn't take into consideration possible discounts, or they simply didn't search some particular bookstore that happened to have the lowest price. Then, out of the remaining ones, I looked at user-friendliness. I give to you the results of my study:
CampusI.com - Very solid and thorough search - claims to search 129 bookstores and 100,000 sellers. Also offers a search for many other products that would interest students (computers, music, movies, video games) and even offers a search for selling your books.
Campusbooks.com - Similar to CampusI, except it seems to search a smaller number of stores. However, they have a feature where you can input multiple ISBNs, and they will search the best prices all at once. They also offer a search for selling your books.
BIGWORDS.com - This one probably impressed me the most. Isn't as extensive as CampusI in terms of search capabilities, but if you're buying multiple books, it combines different prices and deals from each seller to create the lowest possible price for all of your books. If you're a member of any of the bookstores, it also considers member discounts. Like CampusI, it can also search, dvds, music, games, and even school supplies!
In addition, once you find the place with the cheapest price, you can go through certain cashback programs to get money back! Some of the more common bookstores and the programs with the highest cashback payouts:
AbeBooks - Ebates (5%)
Alibris - FatWallet (5.5%)
Barnes&Noble.com - Ebates (4%)
eBay - BigCrumbs (36% of listing fee)
eCampus.com - InstantProfitz (5%)
half.com - InstantProfitz (5%)
Overstock.com - Mr. Rebates (5%)
Textbookx.com - InstantProfitz (5%)
Here are some coupon codes for Alibris:
$10 off $100: TEXTBOOKS10
$5 off $50: TEXTBOOKS8
$2 off $15: BOOKFINDER
Also, if you're a new customer to half.com, email me and I'll send you a $5 coupon.
The great part about these cashback programs is that some of them give you an instant registration bonus - Ebates $5, InstantProfitz $3, and Mr. Rebates $2.50!
There are also some lesser known ways of getting cheaper books. Did you know that you can get international editions of books at a fraction of the cost of books here? In most cases, they're paperback versions, and they may be printed on a lower quality paper, but the content is the exact same.
Firstandsecond.com - India's largest online bookstore - that's a whole lotta books. Shipping may take a bit longer, but if you can wait, you can find some great deals here. The prices are in rupees, but you can plug the price into this currency converter.
Paperbackswap.com - Mentioned in an earlier post. Although the book you need probably isn't here, doesn't hurt to try.
An even more unorthodox way to get books is to see if your library carries it and borrow it and keep on renewing it for as long as you can. I managed to do this with one of my books last semester, which saved me a few bucks. Of course you may find yourself on the receiving end of unfriendly glares from your fellow classmates, so beware.
I hope this was helpful in saving you some money. Be on the lookout for some more money saving/earning tips!