The fact that textbooks cost a fortune is right up there with death and taxes as certainties everyone will face in life. I remember getting a good case of sticker shock at the start of every semester at old Big Red as I cruised the campus store in search of the textbooks that would, in most cases, bore me to tears over the following several months. Then, I didn’t have much of a choice in what I paid for my textbooks but TextbookLand has aimed to change that and now offers an iPhone app, TextbookMe, so you can find the cheapest textbook prices on the go.
TextbookLand was founded by some college students in 1999 with the goal of making it easier to find the best prices for textbooks online. The company doesn’t sell any textbooks itself but simply offers a search service that pulls information from multiple online stores and offers direct links to make purchases. At the end of the semester, you can even use TextbookLand to sell your used textbooks back to a store and get the best price for it (to do this on the iPhone, you’ll need the company’s other app, BookBuyBack).
TextbookMe is pretty straightforward to use, allowing you to search for textbooks manually by entering the title, author, or ISBN, or scan a book’s barcode using the iPhone’s camera. That last method can be a wallet-saver as you shop in your college’s bookstore if you find a cheaper price online and can wait for the textbook to get shipped to you.
Search results include offerings from a variety of stores including Amazon, Half, Barnes & Noble, eCampus, and many more. Each listing will indicate if the textbook available is used or new and its price, and offer a link to let you go right to that online store to buy it via Safari.
TextbookMe’s interface isn’t all that polished and the search results can be a little slow to load but the app is free and could help you save a nice chunk of change as you prepare to fill your mind with knowledge at the educational institution of your choice this year.