Another outrageously-priced textbook? You’ve got to be kidding! How much of this are you going to take? You know there’s a better option than getting ripped off by your university bookstore, right? There are several reputable websites for saving students money on textbooks, eCampus being one of the very best.
Did you know you can rent textbooks, instead of purchasing them? Or perhaps you have a pile of textbooks you no longer need, eCampus will buy them from you. Whether you want to buy, rent or sell your textbooks, eCampus is one way to beat college on a budget.
Setting Up Your Account
Setting up your eCampus account is very quick and easy. You can log in with your Facebook account or the traditional way with an email and password.
Searching For Textbooks To Rent Or Buy
The best way to search for textbooks is with the ISBN number, located on the barcode on the back of the book.
Each book has a landing page featuring the cover and other details (edition, ISBN, format, published date, and publishers). On the left, eCampus will inform you if they will buy the particular book from you, which can provide peace of mind if you’re buying textbooks. Generally, free shipping only applies to books priced $59 and over, but there may be exceptions and they’re displayed on the left, below the book’s cover image. Return shipping on rentals are always free.
On the right side of the page (pictured above), there are sections for renting (semester, quarter, short term), buying used, buying new, buying the eTextbook version and shopping on the Marketplace, a store powered by eCampus that allows you to buy a textbook from third-party sellers, oftentimes for less than what eCampus is listing.
From the account page, you can easily print a return shipping label or extend the rental time.
If you’re thinking about going digital with your textbooks, eCampus is a good place to start, as they have a large number of their books available as eTextbooks too. A couple of significant advantages to eTextbooks is cost and text searchability.
You can still take notes in the eTextbook and highlight text, as well as print pages, send information to classmates, and read on an array of interfaces from your computer browser to smartphone to tablet. There are some drawbacks to eTextbooks that you should be aware of, such as not being able to use them in an open book test, or perhaps not at all in class if your instructor is prohibits tablet use, which is becoming less common, but I have had multiple instructors who forbid laptops in their classes.
So despite eTextbooks being cheaper (as shown above), keep in mind that they do have some trade-offs. Also take note that they still aren’t cheaper than renting, and they can’t really be resold. So if you do not intend on keeping the book, then renting, or buying and reselling may be a better option.
Selling Your Textbooks
Let’s be honest, the university bookstore is not looking out for your best interest when buying back your books. You might be better off selling them directly to a student for either the same price (and helping the student out) or if there is enough demand, for a slightly more. But finding students to buy your books back can be a daunting task, especially when you’ve got more important things to worry about.
eCampus will take care of that hassle and buy your books back for you. Granted, you’re not guaranteed that they’ll take it, but if it’s a fairly common book, chances are they will.
If they don’t, you do have another option – the eCampus Marketplace. I mentioned it once earlier in this article as a great place to buy textbooks. You’ll need to first create a screen name.
Once you’ve done so, you’ll be prompted to input your payment, credit card and billing address information. After that, you’ll need to select which state you will be shipping from. And then you’re all set to start selling. Do be sure that you have direct deposit enabled and the information entered into your account, as that is now the only way to be paid.
Save More With On-Site Coupons
You will likely already be saving by using eCampus instead of going through your university bookstore, but for an added bonus, eCampus offers coupons. That said, you should perform a few price checks just to be sure that eCampus is cheaper, and of course, check with other students to see if you can get the book from them for the same price.
eCampus claims that although there are websites and tools that offer coupons for their site, they will always have the most up-to-date coupon that will save you the most money. The key is to simply look for and use it, which few people do. Start by scrolling down to the very bottom of the page. In the small text, second row, third line down, you will see “eCampus Coupons” which will provide you with the coupon pictured above.
Alternatively, you may also be prompted with a coupon that will pop up when visiting the website.
Are you eager to save even more on your textbooks? Then the “eWards” program is for you. The program works by giving you points when you make purchases, refer friends and follow eCampus on their social media platforms.
If you’re the competitive type that is trying to win at life with gamification, then you can even earn badges for orders you place.
Not Just Texbooks: Rent, Buy Or Sell Books Of All Kinds
eCampus is focused on textbooks, yes, but you can also rent and purchase books of all kinds. I’ll be honest, the prices aren’t fascinating, at least with the few books that I cross-checked on other websites, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find good deals. Also, it makes sense due to eCampus being a textbook-focused website.
A Problem That Websites Like eCampus Still Can’t Fix
There is one issue I’ve run into with any textbook rental or buying website. And it’s unfortunate because it’s not the website’s fault. This problem is when there are an abundant amount of required textbooks for a class or program that are custom, old/outdated or just rare textbooks. I attended a small technical college for a very specific program. Often times, the required books for the class weren’t ones I could find online, although I sometimes got lucky. This is important to keep in mind with eCampus or any similar website. Depending on the university you’re attending, the classes, instructors and program, eCampus may be a big help in saving you money, or they may have very little of your required reading.
Have You Used eCampus?
If you have used eCampus, we’d like to hear about your experience. Was it a positive one? How much did they help you save? Do you have any experience with other textbook purchasing and renting websites or advice for finding the cheapest books online? How about any tips for selling your books online? As always, share your feedback in the comments below.