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What's the best time to buy or sell your textbooks?

There are so many online sites now specializing in textbooks.  We've compiled a few of them here to help you buy, rent and sell at the best prices.

Disclaimer Statement Regarding Use of Websites:  
Any service that completes assignments on a student’s behalf, permits students to share/upload assignments/exams or share completed assignments/exams (whether or not students pay for the service) is a violation of the CSU Standards for Student Conduct, the CSUSM Academic Honesty Policy and potentially violates the Copyright & Fair Use Policy and Intellectual Property Policy. Any student who uses such services to gain or facilitate unfair academic advantage will be referred to Student Conduct and will have disciplinary consequences that may affect student standing within the CSU system.  
Students are encouraged to communicate with faculty prior to submission of an assignment and/or examination to inquire about what materials are approved to use in their courses. 

Featured Vendors

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Buy and sell directly to other students at CSUSM and keep 100% of the profit! In addition, searches over 25 online sites to show you the best prices for new, used, rental, ebooks, older editions and even open-source books. Create a wishlist and they'll let you know when the book is available. logo

Compare offers for your textbooks from over 35 book buyback vendors with a single search. Enter your textbook's ISBN and you'll immediately see who will pay you the most for your textbooks. Oh, and BookScouter is 100% free with no registration required.

packback books

Rent digital textbooks for $3-$5 a day. While this won't work for all classes, it could be useful under certain circumstances.  Money spent on daily rentals can be directly converted to a semester or year-long rental of the book. Use their search engines to find the best rental, purchase and sell-back prices. Ship the books for free when you use a Packback shipping label.

Price Comparison Search Engines

Search hundreds of booksellers from one site. Buy, sell, or rent, with free shipping both ways. Campus books even checks the local libraries for your tets, and will help you decide whether to buy or rent using their total cost of ownership comparisons. Ranked #1 textbook rental site by


Slugbooks will compare prices between loads of online vendors. You can also buy and sell directly from other students.  A new feature allows you to enter the ISBNs of all your textbooks at the same time and it will return price comparisons for each one.

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Valore books
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CSUSM logo

SUSM Follet Bookstore will match price  against Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chegg, or a local campus competitor.  See their website for terms and conditions.


Rent or buy books or ebooks.  Free courtesy eTextbook for 7 days while you wait for your physical copy.  21 day return policy and free shipping over $25.

bookbyte logo

Similar to Chegg, with 14 day return policy and free shipping over $49. website

One more place to buy, rent or sell texts andetexts, with same terms as Bookbyte.


Logo for Vital Source CourseSmart

Search VitalSource for etexts from over 40 publishers and save up to 70% or more over the cost of a physical text.  etext rentals available as well. Take advantage of the CourseSmart etext reader's features including offline reading and limited printing. Even subscribe to your classmates' and instructors' highlights and notes to view in your book.

CSUSM library

One of the best kept secrets is the library's 113,000+ e-book collection. Use the Books, Media & More search tab, and change the "search in" dropdown to Online Resources.

 * Don't forget to check the publisher's website - you may be able to buy by the chapter.


OER Textbook Alternatives

These Open Education Resources ( OER) are free to use, however in many cases they are not an exact replacement for a publisher's textbook.

Boundless texts, must be read online, cover the key terms, concepts, and examples without the bells and whistles. The free textbooks cover the same topics covered in other introductory textbooks in that subject.  After Boundless ceased operation, the books were ported over to Lumen learning, where they are still available for free, but are no longer updated.
Manybooks - Search over 29,000 books by Author, title, Genre or Language.
College Open Not a repository but searchable listings pointing to open textbooks in other repositories.
University of Minnesota
University of Minnesota Open Textbook Catalog - Open textbooks written by academics from many institutions.  Cover a wide variety of subjects.
Project gutenberg 
Project Gutenberg - Now over 42,000 free books.  If you're in the humanities, you've hit the jackpot.  Interested in self publishing? visit
Bartlebybooks Great Books Online. Reference, Poetry, Fiction and Non fiction now in the public domain.

General Information

Cover page and link to REPORT.

A Look at the Worst Publishing Tactics at Work: report by the Student Public Interest Research Groups(PIRGs)