Textbook Buying Options
Carroll's Bookstore is a convenient and reliable source for buying textbooks. However, you can also buy from students, commercial retail bookstores, publishers and new and used online retailers. If you are considering purchasing your textbooks from a vendor other than Carroll's Bookstore, consider the following.
- Verify the ISBN (International Standard Book Number) in addition to title, author, edition and publication date. The ISBN is the key identifier of a title, and is the best information to use when searching for textbooks. You can find the ISBN from Carroll's Bookstore, textbook back cover and the textbook's copyright information. If you have trouble finding the ISBN, ask the Bookstore staff or your instructor. It is important that you purchase the right book.
- Verify the textbook's edition. It is possible that some textbooks being sold online are older editions.
- Buy used when possible. Used books typically provide at least 25% or more in savings from buying new.
- Check "Books for Sale" postings on campus bulletin boards. Look online for used books including Carroll's online bookstore and searching for "used books" on the Web. Remember there are no refunds when buying from an individual, so check the ISBN to be sure it's the right textbook for your class.
- Shop with a reputable online bookseller. Consider shipping costs and times and return policies. Online Booksellers ship books from anytime between three to six weeks from the order date - an important point to consider when starting classes. Carroll's Bookstore has a very flexible return policy that allows textbook returns up to the course drop deadline provided you have your receipt and the textbook is in original as-purchased condition.
- Buy E-books. E-books are online versions of books. They are less often expensive than hard copy, and many come with the ability to search content by keyword/phrase, add comments, create bookmarks and, in some cases, provide free access to additional online materials. There can be drawbacks like limitations to online only access, no resale value, and possible printing restrictions and expiration dates. Carroll's Bookstore has an ever-growing selection of e-books. Simply look for the large green tag when you visit the Bookstore. You can also search "e-books" on the Web.
- Research book bundles. You may find that your textbook is "bundled" in a shrink-wrapped package with other learning materials such as a study guide, software or a pass code. If you have a choice between buying the textbook or the bundled package, make sure you will need all the materials in the package. While these extra learning materials can be of great value, they are often non-returnable once opened. If you have questions about buying a bundle, consult your instructor or Carroll's Bookstore staff.
If you are thinking of choosing an alternative to buying your textbook, consider the following.
- Rent your textbooks, either from the Carroll's Bookstore or from other reputable sources.
- Carroll's Bookstore offers a Textbook Rental Program for all textbooks. Simply select your textbook and inform the cashier you wish to rent instead of purchase. All rental texts must be rented using a major credit card. Then, return your book at the end of the semester. If you keep the book, your credit card will be charged for the full purchase amount.
- All rental textbooks must be returned in good condition, complete and with no damage to the book.
- Use an older edition. If you have access to an older edition, check with your instructor about using it before buying the most current version.
- Share a textbook with other students. You may need to discuss how to split the cost, schedule shared time, and decide what to do with the textbook at the end of the term. As an added benefit, you could turn your sharing group into a study group.
- Use a textbook from Carroll's Library. The Library has a limited number of current textbooks on reserve. These textbooks must be used in the Library and for only up to a four hours.
- Search online for free books. Some titles, especially classic works such as Shakespeare, may be available online for free at sites such as Project Gutenberg.