|Alibris.com is definitely a lesser known site than Amazon. What many people are not aware of is that many of the same sellers that sell on Amazon also sell on Alibris. If you are buying multiple books Alibris discounts the shipping and there are many great coupon codes that you can use that are not available for Amazon. For example if you use code BONTECOU you get $2 off your purchase of $30! So this is definitely an easy way to save on books you would have purchased anyway.|
A popular trick sellers use when selling instructors editions or international editions is covering the ISBN on the back of the book and using colored tape all over the book to cover up the words “instructors edition” or “eastern economy edition.” The words “Instructors Edition” are usually printed on the top of the book. Here is an example of what companies will do to obscure the identification marks:
In this situation the best thing to do is to contact the company and ask for a refund or contact Amazon directly. Future posts will outline the best ways to do that.
Many sellers on Amazon, Half.com, Alibris and other marketplaces have been selling international editions and instructors editions in place of the regular editions. Some sellers just have all the editions comingled while others are scammers who are trying to cheat students who are not aware of the difference. I will be doing a multi part series on the subject as there are many different tips as to how to figure out how to determine before and after a purchase what type of book you will be getting if you order from a particular seller.
This article will cover some of the more obvious techniques. The first thing you want to do is look at the number of ratings the seller has and the price compared to the rest of the books being sold. If it is a new seller selling the book significantly lower than market value it is usually an international edition. In the future there will be a tool on this site to help you determine the likelihood of a book from a particular seller being an international edition so that you don’t have to make that determination your self.
Another (albeit obvious) way is to look at a sellers negative ratings. If they have negative ratings due to selling international editions it is likely that is all they sell. Many of the “new” sellers on amazon are really the same sellers that were just banned and are starting over with a new computer or virtual machine. The descriptions these scammers post are usually pretty similar allowing us to easily connect those seller accounts with the original ones. Another bad sign is if the seller is selling from outside the US specifically from India, Pakistan or Malaysia. These areas are hotbeds of counterfeit books and international editions. Avoid such sellers at all costs.
A little known way of getting more money for your books is coupons for buybacks. Bookbyte for example provides coupon codes periodically which provide 5% extra for coupons. There was even a 7% coupon recently. Ecampus.com has a 5% coupon also which is always available (EE16063). Checking retailmenot.com for the latest coupons is always a great idea.
We have all had that experience in which a company has not matched our expectations. Companies purposely or otherwise sometimes send the wrong book, the wrong edition or books in conditions worse than advertised. The problem is many times these companies are impossible to get a hold of. They may have message/support centers online through which you are supposedly supposed to contact them but they typically take days to respond. I do plan on going through each major bookseller – those that have their own site and those who sell on popular marketplaces such as Amazon and Alibris but there are some easy ways to find information even without having the type of insider knowledge I have.
The first way to get a company’s attention is through social media. Post something to their website and it will take days for them to respond. Post on their Facebook wall and you will probably get an answer within the hour.
The second way is to figure out their phone number.You can do this through sites such as gethuman.com (which is a great site to know about anyways) and the Better Busines Bureau at www.bbb.org. These sites provide you with myriads of phone numbers and information about businesses such as aliases, sites that are affiliated to each other, and easy ways to navigate their phone systems to actually get to speak to a live person. There is no reason why you should have to wait days for a response so try these out and see if they work for you!
One of the most popular search engines for finding textbooks is Dealoz.com. They allow you to price match a wide variety of sites such as Amazon, Alibris, Bookbyte, Chegg, and many more. The site allows you to search by title or author in addition to ISBN and actually seems to work pretty well. The site can take a drop of time but it does provide a wealth of information. It includes coupons and shipping costs too as well as rentals, ebooks and international editions. The site can feel a drop cluttered or confusing at times so it may take some time for you to familiarize yourself with the site.
It also price matches buybacks which is a great way to save on your books. Many times doing a book buyback will allow students to recoup a large portion of the initial costs of purchasing books. Dealoz includes payment methods too. It does not include buyback coupons though. They have expanded their search engine to include electronics, movies and other products, but I have found their original product to be most useful.
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