College Advice Blog

Aug 7, 2010

Finding College Textbook Information

Flying Books 1

You have probably registered for your upcoming courses and are now wondering what books you need? Well, you might have to do some digging to find the answer to that question. For the most part, book information is not readily available and whatever book information is available can be found on the college bookstore's website. However, not everyone is willing to fork over the ridiculous bookstore price for each college textbook needed. What you can do is get the information for each book from the bookstore and use it to buy your books elsewhere. Sadly, there are some bookstores which will list only minimal information, but what they don't know is that's probably all you need to get the books elsewhere.

The first thing you need to do is go to your college bookstore's website and find out what information is provided for each book. If the ISBN# 10 or 13 is given, then it's perfect and enough to find the textbook you need with no chance for mistakes. All you have to do is take that number and place it into's search box and you will be provided with numerous websites which sell the textbook for reasonable prices. Now if only title, author and edition of the textbook you are looking for are provided by the bookstore it's okay. You can still use that information to get the correct textbook elsewhere. Again, go into and fill in the information you have into the title and author boxes. Then look for the edition in the search results and you have your book.
The worse case scenario is where the bookstore provides only the title of the book and no image, thus you basically have nothing to go on. You should never attempt to buy the textbook if all you have is the title because the edition, author, and publication can be quite different. In this case you are to go to your course schedule and find the professor's email address, which should be listed somewhere next to the course you need the book for. Send your professor an email requesting book information. Be polite and don't expect a positive reply. Your professor might provide the information or they might tell you to buy the textbook from the college bookstore. If this occurs, send another email explaining that no matter how much you want to support the campus bookstore, you simply can not afford to pay their prices. If this doesn't work go to the bookstore in person and find the textbook there, copy the necessary information (ISBN#, author, and edition) and go home and order it online. 

I know this shouldn't be complicated, but unfortunately it is. The bookstore is a business and needs to make money; we all understand that. However, until the prices drop drastically it will be losing a lot of business from college students. The only time we will be forced to buy from college bookstores is when a textbook is custom made for the college. Even then, you never know...Surprisingly I have been able to find custom made books from other online retailers.

Now get going, start searching for your textbook information.

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