Find Textbook Deals with Amazon Student

August 25, 2011

11:30 am

This fall will be the last semester I’ll ever be a student. After a bachelor’s degree and two master’s degrees, which the lousy job market will probably have me questioning for a while, I can safely say I could never crack open a textbook again and be a happy woman. It’s not just the thick page counts and abstract theories; it’s that one of my marketing textbooks costs almost $200 this semester.

Those who’ve hung out in academia recently can feel my pain. Apparently Amazon understands the exquisite pain of overpaying for textbooks, too. Their new app, called Amazon Student, helps students find the best deals on textbooks so they can learn what they need to, even on a budget.

Amazon Student is completely free and available for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. If you’re enrolled in higher education, the app offers a convenient way to comparison shop for new and used books, and even sell back your textbooks at the end of the semester. Students can save up to 90% on used textbooks, up to 30% on new textbooks, and get up to 70% back when they sell books through Amazon’s Book Trade-In Program. If you prefer a digital format, you can save up to 80% on Kindle textbook rentals as well.

I tried Amazon Student in hopes that it would find a deal on the other textbook I still need to buy. The app did not disappoint me, as I located the exact edition of the financial accounting book I need at a major discount. The book, which lists for $169.42 new, costs $114.50 new with Amazon Student, and only $85.99 used. Now, if only I could get Amazon to help me with the dreaded financial accounting assignments!

Sure, my campus bookstore would have similar deals on certain textbooks. But, I’ve found that, for some reason, it’s often more difficult to get a good deal on business textbooks. I think the lesson is to shop around to find the best deals and not to feel walled into your campus bookstore for all of your course materials.

Students, do you have any advice on where to get great textbook deals? Share your tips by leaving a comment below.

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Meg Rayford is a communications consultant based in Northern Virginia. She previously spent two years as the Director of Public Relations for a nonprofit startup, where she learned a lot about providing clean water for impoverished countries, even within the confines of a bootstrapped startup.

She is the editor of Tech Cocktail, and she develops media strategies for companies in Washington, DC and Virginia. You can read her most recent work in the marketing chapter of the upcoming book, “Social Innovation and Impact in Nonprofit Leadership,” which will be published in Spring 2014 by Springer Publishing. Follow her @megkrayford.

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