Drawbacks to purchasing used textbooks online

For many non-traditional adult students, who likely have many financial responsibilities and obligations, buying used textbooks on-line is an attractive prospect. Purchasing previously-owned texts can save a lot of money which can be used towards other bills and financial obligations that come due.

Buying used textbooks online is indeed a good money saver, but it is noteworthy to be fully aware of the disadvantages to buying used college textbooks before making payment. Sometimes it could end up to be more costly.  However if you understand the disadvantages of buying used textbooks online, this will better prepare you for making the right purchase.

Here are a few of the biggest disadvantages when choosing used textbooks and the things you should look out for when buying:

Reputation of website

The reputation of the website is one of the primary considerations when you buy used books online because you don’t want to get scammed or never receive your book. Explore the reputation of the textbook website to make sure they are legitimate and well-known.

Or if you buy from a website, such as Amazon or eBay, be sure and look carefully at the seller’s ratings and then read the comments to see what feedback other purchasers have shared.

Wrong edition of text

Editions changeover so quick and while a vast majority of the changes are very minimal, sometimes there are some additional chapters, revisions of information and/or different questions or problems.

If you happen to purchase a book from a reseller that’s an older edition, this could cause you to not have access to the correct homework or class assignments. Before buying an older version, you may want to check to see what changes have been made with the new edition.

International edition of text

Many publishers create different versions of textbooks for U.S. and international audiences. Again, this is a situation where the bulk of the information is essentially the same in each version of the text. However, problems and case studies may be different and could cause a snafu for you in class when you have to read certain information or complete an assignment. Often the international version’s case studies are geared to different situations in different countries and/or laws.

You can usually tell an international version by its soft cover. If there is any doubt, first ask the merchant which version of the text they are selling. International editions are typically lower in price which attracts buyers, but if it impacts the ability to complete assignments, it’s worth investing a few more bucks for the version that contains the problems and chapters you need. Other times, international versions work fine, you can always check with the professor.

Written notes in margins

Often used books contain notes or highlights. To some students this doesn’t matter, but other students may find it distracting. Another potential problem is the previous owner may not have highlighted the right points which could be confusing when you read or try to retrieve your own noted information.

While buying used books online is a great opportunity, it is important to be aware of the disadvantages to buying used college textbooks. Once you know what to look for, you can experience better college success and save a few bucks in the process.