College expenses are undoubtedly growing higher and higher. But what most parents and prospective students will come to find out as they enter college is that the bulk of their hard-earned dollars (or their parents’) will go toward the usually exorbitant costs of required college textbooks.
Consumer Reports has determined that the first place students should shop for their textbooks is certainly not the local college bookstore, but at online retailer Amazon.com. Amazon features the lowest rates available online through any major vendor.
The research and test conducted by Consumer Reports determined this data by comparing the prices of five popular textbooks: Sociology in Our Times: The Essentials, Survey of Mathematics with Applications, Conceptual Chemistry, Publication Manual of the American Psychological Association, and Human Geography in Action.
Though Amazon was declared the cheapest method for obtaining college textbooks, this was determined by doing a comparison study against other vendors like Barnes & Noble, Bookbyte, Chegg and Textbook Rush. Researchers also looked into the cost of these books by dealing directly with each title’s publisher. Variables such as the book’s availability, format, and condition were also taken into account. Barnes & Noble was ranked the highest priced distributor of textbooks; coming close to affordability were only Bookbye and Chegg, though Chegg had the highest marked price for one of the titles.
To assure accuracy, Consumer Reports verified prices and titles with each vendor twice over the course of two weeks; the only factor not included in the resulting data were additional shipping and taxes.