ALWAYS search for textbooks with the ISBN number. NEVER search for textbooks with anything but the ISBN number. VERIFY the ISBN number, before you click to buy.
If an Unused Access Code is necessary, communicate with the Seller, via Messaging, before purchasing and ask them to confirm that the access code has not been used. Apparently, sometimes the Access Code is sold separately. If possible check with the Instructor, to see if they plan to use the Access Code during the course. We bought a Textbook for Melissa that is normally used in college courses, Used, and to my surprise, it came with an Unused Access Code. Occasionally, you will see Used Textbooks listed, with an Unused Access Code. Confirm that with the Seller, via Messaging, before you click to buy if you need the Access Code.
We have never rented, because we live in South America. That works for many people in the USA, but there was a recent thread in a web forum I participate in, where they returned the textbook, and then the company said it was in bad condition, and charged their credit card for a new book. There is no way one can dispute that.
Sometimes, a “New” book will cost less, or just slightly more, than a “Used” book. I am looking at a book for Melissa that is like that now. Less than one dollar more for a “New” book. Some “New” books on Amazon, etc., may have a school stamp and are heavily discounted. Some “New” books do not have an Unused Access Code.
I never pay for Premium shipping. I always use the $3.99 Standard Shipping within the USA. Sometimes, people have delays, with Premium Shipping, because it is an unusual transaction for the Seller. Sounds illogical, but I have seen that in more than one Feedback on Amazon.
Read the most recent Feedbacks and especially the ones for the past 30 days.
HEAVILY DISCOUNTED BOOKS:
We have purchased several textbooks that were sold for $0.01 (one cent plus shipping), that were in excellent condition. Occasionally, Amazon Sellers will get into what I call a “price war” and their computerized pricing algorythm will go as low as one cent, if the book is not sold before the listing price gets down to one cent. The price of a book that has been in a price war, from a large seller, has NOTHING to do with the condition of the book. Apparently a high volume Seller on Amazon can make 30 or 40 cents profit, from the $3.99 shipping charge.
At least one book listed on Amazon as “Used-Very Good”, when Melissa inspected it, she said it was a “New” book. It had a school stamp (from a school district North of San Francisco), but she said it “smells like a New book”.
I NEVER CONSIDER buying books on Amazon that are listed in “Acceptable” condition for Melissa.I try to buy books listed as “Used-Very Good” for her, but will drop down to “Used -Good” if there is a big price differential.
When I have the book on Amazon, I will check the different prices, New, Used-Like New, Used-Very Good and then Used-Good. Sometimes I can get her a book, listed in better condition, for the same or less money.
Quite a few of the used textbooks we have purchased have been in better condition than the Seller showed in their Amazon listing.
I have purchased several books on eBay and saved money over what the same book in the same condition was selling for on Amazon at that time.
AGENT TO WATCH FOR PRICE DROPS:
For Amazon items, you can use the free CamelCamelCamel.com service to watch for price drops.
ALIBRIS AND ABE BOOKS:
Two of the textbooks we need to buy for Melissa now, I checked the prices on Alibris and AbeBooks a day or two ago. I think I will buy one of them on Alibris and save $5 over buying it from the same Seller, on Amazon, by using a Discount Code.
Melissa is just beginning her first course (Algeba 2) that uses an eBook Textbook. TTUISD changed to new High School Math courses, early last September, that use eBooks. She had enrolled in Geometry, during August 2016, and that course used a traditional textbook.
The eBook license was USD $15.75 and there is no Sales Tax or Shipping or delay for shipping involved. The license is for one year. They also have a paper version of that textbook available. I think it was approximately USD $105, plus shipping, and probably we would also have needed to pay FL Sales Tax.That is from MBS Direct in MO, the company that acts as the TTUISD “Bookstore”. For us, Overseas residents, the eBook is a big winner, not just because of the enormous price differential, but because Melissa got access to it in a couple of days. No Shipping charge. No FL Sales Tax (our Forwarder is in FL and we have everything sent there and then Forwarded to our house).
FULFILLMENT BY AMAZON (FBA):
I do not consider FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) listings because in some Feedbacks for those, I have seen where Amazon deleted the Negative Feedback from the Purchaser, because they say it was the fault of Amazon. Conclusion: Positive Feedback Ratings for FBA Sellers may be falsely high.
LEAVING FEEDBACK FOR SELLERS:
I always leave Feedback for Sellers on Amazon and eBay after receiving and inspecting an item. That is extremely important for the Sellers, especially for low-volume Sellers.