Textbook Buying Guide for University of Memphis Students

Buying textbooks for college can be a daunting experience.  Textbook prices are rising fast, but there are many options available today for students.  Tiger Bookstore has put together a textbook buying guide for University of Memphis students to help you wade your way through the process as easily and painlessly as possible.

Tiger Bookstore is family owned and operated, and has been serving Memphis and the University of Memphis students since 1964.  We have a vested interest in our community and its students.  We strive to provide great one-on-one customer service and will go above and beyond to help you find what you need.  When looking for your college textbooks, we offer many options.  You can buy them new or used; rent them for 3 days, 30 days, or for the semester; order online at our web store; or use eBooks.  We also offer discounts for the Future Alumni Association, faculty and staff, and we will match or beat any local competitor’s prices on textbooks.

Buying TextbooksISBN code helps you find your textbooks

What is an ISBN?

The International Standard Book Number (ISBN) is a 13-digit number that uniquely identifies books and book-like products published internationally.  The ISBN is like the book’s fingerprints or DNA.  Everyone single one is unique.  When looking for your college textbooks, you will need the ISBN to ensure you have the correct book AND the correct edition needed for your class. 

New vs. Used Textbooks

New editions vs old editions of college textbooksIf there is a new edition out on a book, there may not be any used textbooks that you can buy.  Some students prefer new textbooks because nobody else has used, read or written in the book before you.  Brand new textbooks are much more expensive than buying used textbooks, but if it is a textbook that you might use in your profession for future reference, you may prefer to buy a new college textbook. 

Buying used textbooks is cheaper, but there could be writing and highlighting from previous students.  You also stand the risk of a new edition coming out soon, which will make your book less valuable during the buyback period.  Many materials like loose-leaf editions, custom titles, workbooks, and bundles are usually only offered new. 

To help you with your book buying costs, Tiger Bookstore offers 10% off new textbooks and 20% off used textbooks for FAM members, faculty and staff.  Just make sure you have your FAM card or ID with you at the time of purchase.  We will match or beat any local competitor’s textbook prices, so if you find your book for less, let us know!

Renting Textbooks

Renting is the most economical way to get your textbooks if you don’t plan on keeping them. You can rent in-store for periods of 3 days, 30 days or all semester long.  Renting prices are anywhere from 50% to 75% lower than new book prices and you don’t have to worry about whether you’re able to sell them back at the end of the semester.  All you will need to do when you’re finished with them is return them to the store and we take care of the rest. 

Some books are not ‘rentable’ because they have one time use codes included with them or they are specific to just this campus and cannot be sold anywhere else.  Just make sure you note when the return date is so there are no additional late fees.  And don’t forget you rented them, because they cannot be sold back to the store, only returned!

Should I use eBooks?

EBooks are electronic/digital versions of textbooks.  Not all textbooks will have an eBook equivalent. Some students love the convenience of having all of their books on their tablet or laptop, and the price tends to be less than buying a new book.  But, most students still prefer an actual book.  This way they are able to make notes in the margins and earmark pages.  In addition, eBooks do expire after an allotted time period and some only let you print a certain number of pages.  Once you’ve downloaded the eBook, the sale is final, and unfortunately cannot be returned or the download reversed. 

What if I drop my class or the professor isn’t using the book?

You have until the third day of the semester to return your book for a full refund with your purchase receipt and up to 2 weeks if you drop a class.  Please keep up with your receipt and bring documentation showing you have dropped the class if beyond the 3rd day of class.  So, on your first day of class, check with the professor to make sure you will be using the book and that you have the correct one.  If your book or bundle is encased in shrink wrap (has plastic wrap around the book or books), leave them that way until you know you will be using it.  Rentals can be returned in the same manner.  Unfortunately, eBooks cannot be returned as explained previously.

Why are book prices so high?Frequency of new editions of college textbooks

Book publishers set the new retail prices for textbooks.  With the marketplace selling used books and electronic books, the prices for new books continue to go up.  You will also notice some textbooks coming out with a new edition every semester or every year.  This is either because the book is an annual printing using current statistics or because there are new more relevant examples and thoughts in the field of study being taught. 

Sometimes you might wonder if anything relevant changed.  In these cases, check with your professor and see if an older edition can be used.  Your professor might know the differences in the new editions, or you can sometimes find the information online.  For some subjects, like technology, where the field is rapidly changing, you probably will need the newer edition.  Publishers are also bundling material like textbooks, workbooks and CDs or DVDs.  You may not need everything in the bundle.  Check with your professor to see if you will need the supplemental material.  

Professors or department committees decide which books to use every semester.  Communication and feedback between the professors, students and bookstores can help reduce your prices.   Also, selling your books back locally helps create a larger used book market for University of Memphis students!  

But buying books online is cheaper!

We do compete and match prices on most online textbooks. College is already expensive enough as it is.  But if you do find a cheaper price online, be warned, that price may not be cheaper after it’s all said and done.  Books that are priced drastically lower than ours could be international or instructor editions of the textbooks.  International books are illegal editions of books not intended for US sale or purchase.  Instructor editions are alternate editions of the books.  Sometimes books online are listed incorrectly, and you may not be able to return it.  Pay attention to the shipping costs and return policy.  Also, if you buy used textbooks online, you can’t be sure of the condition of the book.  Tiger Bookstore knows exactly what books your professors are requiring and we are just down the street if you have the wrong book or drop the class.

If you have questions about your textbooks, come see us at Tiger Bookstore!  We will provide you with great customer service, and make sure you get exactly what you need for your semester at the University of Memphis.  You can also pick up some great Tiger gear while you are here!  We wish you a great semester!  Make sure you check back with our blog often for more tips and advice on textbooks, college life, and more.

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