Mary’s Textbook Tips for Student Shoppers: Part 1

intro-textbooktip1We’ve been where you are now. We’ve shopped for textbooks, and we’ve felt your pain. So, over the next few days, we’d like to share a few tips to help your textbook-shopping experience be as smooth as… something that’s really smooth. Like¬†really smooth.

Better World Books employee and longtime blog contributor Mary Fajimi knows a thing or two about buying books for class. With years of experience as the Outlet Bookstore Manager, she’s experienced all aspects of textbook season (or “rush” as it is more commonly known internally).

So here’s Textbook Tip 1: Get the ISBN!¬†Mary says:


“Always get the ISBNs for the textbooks you need. This helps you get the exact edition so that you don’t have to worry about returning books if you accidentally order a wrong edition. Also, especially when ordering used books, read the seller’s comments about condition. They could include important pieces of information like, ‘Instructor’s Edition,’ or ‘First Canadian Edition.’ Be sure you know what you’re ordering.Where can you find an ISBN? You can find it on the back of the book by the barcode. If there’s a sticker over the barcode, it’s always a good idea to check the ISBN on the copyright page inside the first few pages of the book. That way, if someone accidentally put a wrong sticker on the book, you still know you’re looking at the right number.

If your bookstore or student portal doesn’t make ISBNs easily accessible, ask your professor, your bookstore staff, the administrative assistants in the class’s department, or another student. If you can’t find the ISBN, look for all of the following instead. Get the title of the book, the author’s name, the edition, and the publication year. These pieces of information will help you in your search so that you can confirm you’re getting the right book. Once you’re sure you’ve found the right book online with this info, use the ISBN included in that online listing.”



(Buying textbooks today? Here, take these with you. You’ll need them. Blogspoilers!)

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