Monday, December 21, 2009

Online comparison sites can save money

Tina Zeidan and Sharon Ho
Issue Date: 12/14/09

Students looking to save time bargain-hunting for the cheapest textbooks can now make use of online textbook price comparison engines. and compare the prices of used, rental, electronic and international editions of textbooks.

Prices listed include any applicable shipping charges.

“ was founded by our President, Alex Neal, who was tired of the high price of books and knew the Internet offered a way to save hundreds on textbooks,”Jeff Cohen, CEO of wrote in an e-mail to The San Matean. “The problem was that it took a long time to visit all the different sites. was created to solve this problem.”

“CSM students can expect to save up to 90 percent on the textbooks they purchase,” wrote Jeremy Jung, founder of, in an e-mail to The San Matean.

As a college student, Jung had become increasingly frustrated with bookstore textbook prices, and wanted to create a tool that allowed students to find the best prices without having to deal with advertisements.

The amount of savings depends on factors such as demand and popularity of the textbook, and how early students purchase the textbook, wrote Jung. has a price alert feature which will notify students when the price of a textbook drops, wrote Jung. Students can save more money if they know early-on which textbooks they need.

“Prices tend to increase during the first few weeks of classes as students often buy at the last minute,” Jung wrote.

Students should exercise caution when they buy textbooks online.

“We recommend that students read the seller comments and understand the shipping policy of any online merchant they purchase from,” wrote Cohen. “It is also important to review the condition of the book.”

“We only include bookstores which have a reputation of being reliable,” Jung wrote. “If we receive any complaints about a bookstore we investigate them very thoroughly and will remove any stores from our result which do not meet the highest quality standards.”

Students can also use smartphone applications to compare textbook prices.
“Our iPhone application, iBookstore, is a great way to get prices on the go,” wrote Cohen. “CSM students can also access our iPhone application to get prices directly from their phone while shopping in the on-campus bookstore.” plans to relaunch its website within the following months to include smartphone bookstore applications which will make it easier for students to tap into low textbook prices wherever they are, wrote Jung., based in San Diego, began operations in 1998. GetTextbooks, based in Mountain View, Calif., began operations in 2003. and did not respond to queries from The San Matean.

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