Online textbook deals may have started out as the college equivalent to a wives’ tale, but in 2009 it’s easier than ever to find books online. By cutting out (or at least reducing the role of) the middle man, student-to-student sales benefit both parties. That said, I buy as many books as I can online, and these are the websites I find most helpful:
1) www.allmsu.edu. If you’re new to the site you’ll have to quickly create a password, but it’s the most relevant to what you’re looking for, since all the books come from MSU students. It’s also the best way to get your text on time; meeting up with somebody across campus is way more effective than waiting for you book to ship from, say, California.
2) Facebook Marketplace. You’re on FB for three hours a day anyway, click through some textbook listings. Like AllMSU, they will be from people you can meet up with. Also, a lot of the ads have an “Or Best Offer” clause, so if you’re down for bartering this might be for you.
3) www.half.com. This is Ebay’s answer to the demand for online textbooks. Unlike on Ebay, there’s no bidding involved. It’s easy to search (and sell, if you’re interested). You do have to pay shipping, and I’m sure Ebay gets some kind of cut. Nonetheless, probably less expensive than walking into a bookstore and buying a new copy.
4) Good Ole www.amazon.com. They have a pretty good textbook selection (well, a good everything selection really). Just make sure you’re not paying more than you would in a store when you take shipping into account.
5) www.google.com/products. Google does everything well. Type in a really specific textbook name and see what pops up for you. You can sort by price or relevance, but check to make sure the edition is right, because something like every textbook ever made pops up.
Anyway, I guess that’s all of the online book browsing advice I have. Don’t forget to comparison shop at the real bookstores (or their websites). Good luck!