Cheap Used Textbooks

Cheap Used Textbooks – Introduction

In this short article, I would like to warn you of the negative consequences of buying cheap used textbooks, especially online.

Please be aware that I mean textbooks that you use to learn from, not used books generally. If you want to get decent used books online, there are many options. AbeBooks, for example, is a good place to start.


The Temptation

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Language books can be expensive, there is no denying that. When you look at the new prices, it can be tempting to opt for a second-hand book instead.

If buying online, the seller might describe it as being ‘like new’ and the savings can be significant.


The Problem

Descriptions about the condition are highly subjective and usually refer to dog-eared pages and torn covers, that sort of thing.

What is not possible to check is whether the previous owner (or worse, owners) had written in the book.

In my experience, people tend to write in their language books.

Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can rub out any previous answers. You can still see them.

At best, you get given the answer without really getting involved in the learning process.

At worst, the answers can be wrong, causing untold confusion and uncertainty.


Cheap Used Textbooks – Conclusion

Buying cheap used textbooks is usually a false economy.

It may save you some money in the short term, but the loss of learning that occurs when books have been written in by previous owners is far greater and ultimately more expensive.

The only exception to this would be if you can physically see the book first and check the pages (all of them!) to see that they are clear of extra writing.

What do you think? Comments welcome.

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