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Alternative to buying textbooks at Amazon

  1. Aug 18, 2013 #1
    Hi guys,

    I'm looking good website to buy textbooks online beside Amazon.com. I know it is preferred but I can't help but notice the high-price offered there. For instance I want to purchase University Physics by Young and Freedman, but it's almost 200$ there. I'm surprised, is it normal for textbooks to have such a high price range?


    The thing is I'm also buying other textbooks so the price really adds up, do you guys have any experience on this that you can share to reduce the price a bit? I know I've to pay for it sooner or later and the book itself is great no doubt but I just feel a bit guilty buying books in that rate.

    Thank You
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 18, 2013 #2
    Yikes, renting and even buying used is not much better!
  4. Aug 18, 2013 #3
    I prefer new books too actually, if there's no choice then I'll have to accept buying the books in its current state.

    I've to make a note also that I live neither in US or in Western nations, so the price set up is quite a substantial leap from ordinary books here, but again if that's the standard price that everyone has to buy well I take it.
  5. Aug 18, 2013 #4


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    High textbook prices are a big problem. When I was in college, I'd spend about $200 a quarter for the books for all of my classes combined. Now that's how much you spend for one book!

    Look for the paperback edition. It'll be cheaper than the hardcover, and probably cost less to ship. Also, some items include access to the publisher's website. If you don't need that, you can probably get a less expensive version that doesn't include that.
  6. Aug 19, 2013 #5


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    That a book has 13 editions is in itself not a bad thing, they get to update the content and make it particularly relevant. They get to respond to the needs of lecturers/professors using their book. This I don't mind. But there is no way I would pay that price. Simple as (unless it was required by my college and I couldn't find a used one). I would look for a used 12th or 11th edition or would probably choose another book.

    Here's a few used 10th editions (click on "used") with international shipping: Barnes & Noble, also 11th here, you get the idea.

    But (this is my final edit), look at sites in your own country as well, it could be cheaper for you.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2013
  7. Aug 19, 2013 #6
    On abebooks.com, every time I search for textbooks there are always options to buy the "international edition," which is substantially cheaper than the typical North American edition. I'm not sure how they are different though, so am not sure why there is such a huge price difference. This may be an option you can look in to.
  8. Aug 19, 2013 #7
    Ok in that case I've no problem in buying it. I also forget to consider that this books will be useful for one entire Physics journey as a reference and not something you can left after one or two years.

    In my own country, the imported books are actually more expensive (nearly twice) because of import tax, profit for the reseller, and other side costs. You need to buy it online because they are not sold in ordinary bookstores, so it's worst actually in many cases.

    Thanks for your advise all!
  9. Aug 19, 2013 #8


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    A guy I went to school with took a somewhat unusual approach.

    Our library had copies of the assigned textbooks in the regular stacks. A book could be checked out the entire semester. So, this enterprising student simply checked his assigned texts out of the library and returned them when the semester was over.
  10. Aug 19, 2013 #9
    Now that is a sweet economical option. Wish they did that at my school's library, they have the textbooks being used that semester on reserve so you can only check them out for in-library use for a couple hours.
  11. Aug 22, 2013 #10


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    Keep in mind that that edition of Young and Freedman is still pretty new. The publishing date is 2012 I believe, so the prices are still going to be high.

    Sadly though, those kinds of prices are not at all unusual for college textbooks. My calculus book for the next 3 semesters would have cost me over $300 in my campus bookstore. I got it used on Amazon for a little over a hundred, and it's in nearly brand new condition. In my experience, Amazon tends to have the best prices on used textbooks. A lot of students swear by Cheggs, but every time I've looked there, the books I've needed have cost $20-30 more than on Amazon.
  12. Aug 22, 2013 #11
    I buy all my books on Amazon. I buy all used and I find they are much cheaper and in my experience, out of like 100 text books or more, I only have one or two that is not in almost new condition.....and....of cause they did say it's not in good condition. I find the sellers are very honest in the condition of the book.

    I also find it's worth buying an edition older if you are not using it as text book in a class. They usually are a lot cheaper.

    If someone have a better place for better price and have as good a collection in physics, math and electronics as Amazon, I am all ears. I buy a lot of books, like 5 to 7 per subject as a lot of them make mistakes and you need multiple books to confirm.
  13. Aug 22, 2013 #12
    ha ha!!! I am exactly opposite. I like to keep my books as reference. I write notes in the book mostly the derivations of equations that might not be given by the book. After I studied the book, it really look like crap, but I would not sell it or trade it for any price. They become my priced possessions. In my Balanis Antenna theory book, I have derivations that is so long and complicated, I have to tape a page of hand written notes onto the page inside the book. I taped so many the book is getting a little thicker!!! I am sure you know what I am talking about from the stuffs you helped me in the last two months. Some of the equations took 5 or 6 steps to arrive to the final equation.

    I treasure my books and note books so much I never take them out of the house. If I need to read something away from home like on vacation, I actually make a copy to take it with me. Rather kill a tree than to loose a book.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2013
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