Cheaper alternative for buying textbooks

Alex Ripepi
Staff Writer

The burden of preparing for the next quarter is a mandatory hassle. Among the preparations is purchasing the required books for those classes.

Fortunately for our wallets, websites like have search engines for finding the cheapest available textbooks.

While renting books is often lauded as the most efficient and cost effective way of saving money, it can also be nearly as expensive, if not more, than a new copy from a different source.

In the same vein of logic is the prospect of selling books after you’re done with them, often back to the provider you’ve purchased them from, but many problems can arise from this option.

For example, if a bookstore has no need of a book that you’re trying to sell, that loss of reimbursement may mean next quarter is going to be filled with Top Ramen.

However, websites that allow you to search for textbooks streamline the process of finding the cheapest online source.

With Campus Shift’s search for each title taking about 10 seconds, using this tool is extremely simple. There’s no sifting through long lists of results. The cheapest book is available for purchase new or used, for rent, as an e-book or for later buyback.

A quick search revealed in a very short amount of time that the textbook “A Brief Guide to Biology” by David Krogh can be bought cheapest used at $4.49, which is a 97 percent discount from the $148.53 suggested retail price. However, if you want the book new, you can still snag it for $31.47, a 79 percent discount.

According to co-founder and CEO of Campus Shift, Jeff Lorton, the average savings from the search engine is 95 percent off of the suggested retail price of a textbook.

The huge savings don’t all stem from one method of purchase, however. After a few cursory searches of random textbooks, the highest amount saved per title was varied through each option of purchase. No one category appeared dominant in savings.

‘A Brief Guide to Biology’ by David Krogh can be bought cheapest used at $4.49, which is a 97 percent discount from the $148.53 suggested retail price.

Lorton explained that the pricing variables weren’t static either.

“It depends on timing, demand, the particular book,” said Lorton. “I have personally seen a textbook price change dramatically in less than five minutes.”

An infographic available on the website explains that day by day, the price of any given book can even double, making the search engine more valuable by allowing a repeatable, simple way of finding text books.

So this coming quarter, fear not while purchasing books, because there is a streamlined process that can save you money to pay tuition, buy clothes, eat food or save for later. Campus Shift can greatly reduce the strain of a new slew of classes.