At, we don’t sell, rent, or buy textbooks; instead, we deliver the information and resources that students and families can use to make the best choices when it comes to saving money on higher-education expenses.

Given that it’s tax season (just one month left until the April 15 deadline), we want to make sure that you’re up to speed on the important benefits available in the name of Tax Incentives for Higher Education. This information could mean up to $2,500 in tax credits for college students and their families. We urge you to do a few easy things to make sure that you get the most money back come tax time.

  1. Visit to find out the full details of the American Opportunity Tax Credit (very helpful is this IRS Q&A). If your parents or anyone else is involved in paying for your education, share this information with them.
  2. Know that textbook purchases now qualify as expenses under the program, but to get credit for them, you must have receipts showing your qualified spending. The IRS has expanded the definition of qualified spending to include “expenditures for ‘course materials.’ For this purpose, the term ‘course materials’ means books, supplies, and equipment needed for a course of study whether or not the materials are purchased from the educational institution as a condition of enrollment or attendance.”

Finally, we know that taxes are complicated so here’s a good overview and starting point to help you get the most back for your 2010 education expenses.

We’re delighted to welcome to the Web! This terrific new site covering every angle of textbooks and college learning materials is the brainchild of’s very own CEO Jeff Cohen, your guru in residence.

Jeff’s decade in the textbook industry, learning every nook and cranny, has given him the knowledge and experience to answer any and all textbook-related questions. Seriously, the dude knows more about textbooks — buying books, selling textbooks back for cash or credit, textbook rentals, supplements, custom publications, new editions, international editions, academic trends, you name it — than, well, let’s just say that he knows more than any one person should know, hence the moniker Textbook Guru.

This way lies enlightenment about all things textbooks (don’t worry, the Blog isn’t going anywhere and it will still provide relevant info) and Jeff loves to help students shop smarter, find the resources they need for the best prices, and understand academic publishing and bookselling. He gives students the insider’s scoop and answers questions like:

  • What’s going on with eBooks?
  • Can the Kindle or iPad or Kno replace printed textbooks?
  • Why did the girl in front of you at buyback get $25 more than you got for the exact same book?
  • Are textbook torrents real and legit?
  • Which is the best eReader for college students?
  • Can you or your parents write off textbooks as a tax deduction?

The Textbook Guru knows the answers to these questions and many more!

So check out Jeff’s new site and let him help you answer any questions you have about textbooks, business development, education, new media, and more. Go ahead, give him your best shot!

With colleges and universities getting back in session throughout the entire month of January and students scouring the Internet and campus bookstores searching for the best deals on textbooks, we thought we’d take a moment to give you some tips on saving even more money.

Sure, when you use the price-comparison tool via website or smartphone, you see an array of the absolute lowest prices on the textbooks you need. But the initial search is just the first step in your savings. Here are some additional ways to compound the textbook savings:

1) Use Coupons: When you conduct your search, you may see something like “Coupon: 10% Off Order — Use Code Save10″ in the search results. If you see that a coupon is available, click “See Details” in the listing and copy the code for when you check out on the merchant’s page. A word about textbook coupons: we don’t skimp here and many coupons are exclusive to This month we’ve got coupons from:

  • Alibris
  • Biblio
  • CampusBookRentals
  • CengageBrain
  • Chegg
  • College Book Renter
  • CourseSmart
  • eCampus
  • PhatCampus
  • TextbookStop
  • Many more!

2) Add multiple books (up to 10) to a single order in your Bookbag and let us find you the best bundled deal. We’ll bring back results showing multi-book discounts and cheaper shipping when you use a single merchant for more than one of the items. To add to a Bookbag and bundle for savings, conduct your search, click the “Compare Prices Now” button, and instead of clicking any of the “Buy Now” button, instead click “+ Bookbag.” We’ll do the rest to maximize your textbook savings.

3) Be open to both buying textbooks and renting textbooks and mixing and matching. Sometimes it makes sense to buy your textbooks, like when you know that you’ll keep them or you need to write in them or they come with some sort of access code or proprietary supplements or you know that the book will have a high buyback value. If these things are not the case, consider renting if the price is substantially lower than purchase price.

4) Consider eBooks and international editions. Maybe you’ve never tried these formats, but they can save you big money. Now is an especially good time for eBooks as there is an abundance of free reader software for computers and smartphones.

5) Because free is the ultimate in savings, use our Local Search to check nearby libraries to see if they have your books available for loan.

The prep for finals, the all-nighters, the scrambling at the bookstore, the posters saying things like “BOOKS$CASH,” they all point to one thing: end-of-term buyback being upon us. And while we can't help you cram, format your bibliography, or get more sleep, we can help you sell more books back and get better prices for them. Here's the skinny:

Buyback is very much on and if you don’t have a plan for how to turn your books into cash, you’re running out of time. If you're planning on selling your books at the campus bookstore the day after finals, you're likely to run into a lot of “Sorry, we’re not buying that title” and “Sorry, we can only give you $3.50 for this bio text.” Ouch!

Skip the sorries, step it up and secure your deals early and having scoped your options. It’s easy.

Grab the books you want to sell (don't forget any CDs or other components that came with the book when you purchased it), stack them so that the ISBNs are easy to read, and visit the selling tool ASAP. While the selling tool has always brought you the best buyback prices from all over the Web (including bookstores, individual buyers, and marketplaces) all on one page, we’ve recently added even more buyers. More buyers means more options, more competition for your books, higher values, and of course, less time you’ll spend hopping sites. Let us do the comparisons and find you the best prices. Our massive array of buyers now includes nearly 20 major names!

  • Amazon
  • Better World Books
  • Blue Rocket Books
  • BookByte
  • Cash4Books
  • Chegg
  • eCampus
  • FirstClassBooks
  • JitterBook
  • MyBookCart
  • SellBackYourBook
  • TextbookLink
  • TextbooksRus
  • TextbookWheel
  • ValoreBooks
  • WeBuyTextbooks

Got an iPhone or a Droid? Grab the Mobile App for Smartphones and save yourself the hand-keying. Use our app and your phone’s camera to scan the barcodes on your textbooks and find the highest buyback values going. It’s insanely easy and totally on the go.

Reminders and best practices:

  1. The keys to getting the best buyback prices are acting early and being an informed seller (finding the best values and reading the terms of the deal). You also need to follow through. When you find a good price for your books, go for it! Secure the quote and pack and ship your books ASAP. The sooner you do, the sooner you'll get your money.
  2. Take a gander at “Selling Back Books: A Few Simple Rules.” These rules and tips and reality checks will help you get through finals and buyback without losing your mind. Follow these guidelines and you will be well served to maximize your cash back and keep your sanity.

Now you’re armed with all the info you need to get the most this buyback season. Good luck on finals and happy selling!

Sometimes we find ourselves so busy with the business of saving students money on textbooks and finding new ways to help them get more cash when selling their books back that we forget about some of the other useful stuff of on our website.

Since last we blogged, we’ve developed some really cool tools for students to use and we were reminded of a goldmine of resources on the site. Let’s take a minute to catch up and hopefully all of these offerings will come in handy as you hunker down to some studying.

First off, we totally revamped our iPhone app and added an app for Droid. Both put all of the buying and selling power of in the palm of your hand wherever you go and however you connect. Definite downloads.

Second, with mobile capabilities on our minds, we added local library and bookstore inventories to our search results so you can see if your books are available nearby and ready for pickup. And yep, you’ll see this functionality on our website and our smartphone apps.

Third, we did some general site maintenance and were reminded what a treasure trove of info and links we have, including pages and pages of academic resource links spanning the entire education spectrum. From information about study skills to discounts on software for students to whether an online degree is right for you, it’s all here.

Finally, we updated our big college bookstore directory with even more schools. Here you can find your campus bookstore’s hours and contact info, shop online at their site, and see for yourself just how much you can save on textbooks when you comparison shop with

It all began in the mid-’90s. Technology was rapidly evolving and its role in our everyday lives was in the infant stages. At this point, when cyberspace was a wide-open frontier town, an exciting new technology (digital books aka electronic books or eBooks) emerged and hailed the dawning of a new era in the publishing world. But what happened then?

The predictions of the demise of the printed word did not come to fruition. Why haven't we all adopted the eBook if it was such a promising idea two decades ago? The fact of the matter is that digital publishing failed in its first attempt. The Internet was twenty years younger, high-speed and wireless had not yet been introduced, and social media carried little to no meaning.

However, the past five years have seen a rebirth of the eBook. Once again, the seers suggest that within five years, a majority of colleges will integrate the technology; within seven years high schools will; and throughout that span, Kindles (our review of the original Kindle here and the later K2 here), Nooks, iPads (our preliminary take on the iPad here), and many more tools for digital reading, will saturate the market. Will this happen? Or is it just another series of false prophets claiming that the future is at hand?

The consensus in the industry is that seems like the real deal this time. eBook form and function is far superior to the models of 15 years ago. Also, the developments of high-speed and wireless Internet access, and thus the ability to buy media instantly and without getting up from your chair make a world of difference. No doubt the virtual bookstores of today are far superior to those of the past as well, and excluding a few reference and technical books (yep, the textbook sort), I found the Kindle and iPad libraries fully stocked with anything I could ever want. And apparently others are finding plenty of what they need and want as well; eBooks sales have seen an annual growth of 55%, as compared to traditional print-book sales growing by only 2.5%.

So what's the right approach to the eBook? Amazon now has the ever-improving Kindle DX available, and from its reviews it looks like a simple, affordable, and user-friendly creation. The iPad, Steve Jobs's new baby, is sure to play a role in the future eBook market. But maybe something better is just around the corner and who wants to spend hundreds of dollars on a device that could be obsolete tomorrow?

An equally important question is who does the eBook really benefit (other than Amazon and Apple). Nature? It surely reduces the necessity to cut down more trees to print new books. Publishers? The cost of production, shipping, and handling are all virtually erased. Authors? With the reduced cost of production, publishers are now keeping more profits after incurring fewer costs, which means higher royalties for authors. Readers? Versatility, compact design, cheaper books certainly do add to the lure of the eBooks idea.

So yes, all of the above parties seem to benefit in one way or another. Now who loses when it comes to eBooks? Well, the real losers are the bookstores as publishers can now communicate directly with their readers using the Internet and purchases are made online and content downloaded without a physical retail store.

How soon is this going to happen? It already is, but it has been for some time, though momentum is building. The current eBooks (readers, selections, and delivery models) are far from perfect. Note taking, marking, and finding a certain position in a book are far simpler with a hard copy (for now). And some people just miss that feel of a book. However, traveling with and accessing books in your collection are far simpler with a Kindle or iPad or Nook. And of course the ease of expanding that collection is close to effortless.

Now is an exciting time to see how technology and print converge. No one can know the timeframe in which this convergence and subsequent transition and transformations will take place, but all factors suggest it will happen and happen sooner rather than later. For some, the eBook is the perfect solution for modern literary needs, but only the coming years will tell if this technological trend, a further shift into the digital, will truly endure and how popular it will be.

Buyback is on and if you don’t have a plan for how to turn your books into cash, you’re running out of time. Every day that passes from here on out puts you at risk for getting less cash (or even none at all) as buyers fill their quotas and amass stock from students who sold early. That said, if you have books that you’re looking to sell, now is the time and you simply cannot afford to wait. Here’s what you need to know in order to have the best buyback experience as we come down to the wire:

Grab the books you want to sell, stack them so that the ISBNs are easy to read, and visit the selling tool ASAP. While the selling tool has always brought you the best buyback prices from all over the Web (including bookstores, individual buyers, and marketplaces) all on one page, we’ve recently amped up the power so as to include more buyers. More buyers means more options, more competition for your books, higher values, and of course, less time you’ll spend hopping sites. Let us do the comparisons and find you the best prices.

So what does it mean when we say that we’ve amped up the buying power? Well, our lineup of buyers now includes

  • Amazon
  • Better World Books
  • Blue Rocket Books
  • BookByte
  • Chegg
  • eCampus
  • TextbookLink
  • TextbookWheel
  • ValoreBooks

That’s 15 big-time book buyers all in one place to save you the hassle of going from site to site and waiting in line at the campus bookstore only to be told that your book isn’t being bought. So what are you waiting for? Get selling! And if you’re an iPhone user, you can get all of the buyback goodness on your phone using our CampusBooks for iPhone app. Wherever you are, just scan your books and get selling on the spot.

It’s almost May and with that comes textbook-buyback time (not to mention getting into the swing of baseball season). Now, more than ever before, you have options about how and where and when to sell back your books. To help you wade through a sea of options and make informed choices so that you get the best buyback prices and the least hassle, we’ve put together a triple play of our best and most-useful buyback info, not to mention the straight-up truths that other folks may not tell you.

1) “Selling Back Books: A Few Simple Rules” is a must read. These rules and tips and reality checks will help you get through finals and buyback without losing your mind. Follow these guidelines and you will be well served to maximize your cash back and keep your sanity.

2) “Why'd She Get More Than I Got? Tales from the Buyback Trenches” is a conversation about an all-too-familiar frustrating incident that makes us cringe just to think about. Check it out for the scoop on how not to get a raw deal while a classmate gets a sweet one. Oh, and that offer in the last paragraph still stands. Tell us your story and we’ll hook you up with a gift card.

3) If you have an iPhone, you need the CampusBooks for iPhone App. In addition to finding the best deals when buying books, the app finds you the best buyback prices. Simply scan your book’s ISBN barcode and you’ll see both buying and selling options, all from your phone wherever you are. So if you’re standing in line at the bookstore and the clerk offers you a buyback price that feels like an insult, simply scan the barcode and find out if and where you can get more money back.

Now you’re armed with all the info you need to get the most this buyback season. Good luck on finals and happy selling!

Several months ago, we wrote a blog entry entitled Money Matters: A Special Edition on Textbooks & Tax Credits. In this entry, we discussed the American Opportunity Credit, a subsection of the Hope and Lifetime Learning Credits.

That was a while ago and in the meantime and with your studies coming first, you may have lost sight of this important and beneficial bit of legislation. That, coupled with the fact that the deadline for filing taxes with the IRS is a mere two weeks away, is why we want to take a minute to remind you what the credit is all about and how it benefits you and how to take advantage of it. Here’s what you need to know when you file your taxes by April 15:

  • Under the American Opportunity Credit (AOC), students and their families are eligible for up to $2,500 in credits.
  • The credit can be claimed for the first four years of post-secondary education.
  • You can be reimbursed not just for tuition, but also for textbooks and other supplies purchased as course materials. It does not matter whether or not the materials were purchased at the institution where the student is enrolled. That said, if you got your textbooks from a merchant you found through, it still counts!

The time-frame that we’re looking at here is calendar year 2009 (the tax year). But the AOC will also be offered in 2010, so keep your receipts for next tax season when you may be eligible again!

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle . . . Renew and Rejuvenate for Spring!

After a long winter filled with some of the harshest weather we’ve seen in a long time, spring is nearly here! Every time we see a patch of green or hear a bird chirping nearby, things feel a little easier and like we’re about to turn the corner and enjoy warmer weather, sun, and longer days. And what could be more spring-like than being mindful of a green lifestyle? Exactly, that’s why we’re presenting our segue to spring, complete with green links we love (and hope you will too), in this installment of the blog.

Indispensable Green Website: GreenStudentU is an awesome site that really has it all, everything from living greener on campus and to making a difference as a global citizen. And it’s all geared to college students, the very people who are at the heart of positive environmental change. Love it.

Indispensable Green Website: Red, Green, and Blue is cool because it’s all about strength through unity and putting aside political differences and ideologies to discuss and debate environmental issues. And when the discussion gets a little heavy or you’re feeling like you need a laugh with your thinking, visit the Cartoons section for some editorial funnies.

Indispensable Green Website: GlobalStewards is a no-nonsense site that for more than a decade has been providing tips for living a sustainable lifestyle. There’s a terrific amount of useful information here on everything from personal finance to gardening to eco-travel. Their Eco-Tips page is a must-bookmark for sure.

Hot Links for Green School Supplies: Inhabit’s Eco-Friendly School Supplies piece presents some super-sharp environmentally righteous gear for school. And because Inhabit is a design site with an eye for the green, you know this is some good-looking and highly functional stuff as well as eco-savvy. If you’d like more suggestions for eco-friendly school supplies, check out this list from Real Simple and this one from TheDailyGreen.

Green Gifts for Moms, Dads, and Grads: We all know about the winter holiday season in December, but there’s also one in spring. With Mother’s Day, Graduation, and Father’s Day close at hand, why not go green and shop early so you can stress less come finals time? For the greenies on your spring gift list, has an expansive selection of eco-friendly gifts, including some really creative stuff made from objects that would have otherwise been wasted.

And a final word about keeping it green this spring: remember that used textbooks are at the heart of keeping prices down and deforestation to a minimum. Do your green part and when you’re done with your textbooks, sell them back so that another student can save and another tree can stand tall.

Have a happy and healthy and successful spring!