While I would be a course in miracles twitter that you buy your law books from the local bookstore, the kind of deals that can be had online can’t be matched by most physical sellers.
Let’s face it: text books are expensive, and law books even more so. In fact, the increasing cost of text books is the reason for the mushrooming of online text book sellers that sell books at much cheaper rates than stores like Barnes & Noble or your local University store.
An obvious place to start off your search is Amazon. The online retail giant is virtually synonymous with books, and I’ve yet to come across a book that wasn’t available at Amazon. With their recent emphasis on used books, you can usually find a pretty good deal if you search hard enough.
Speaking of used books and deals, the place to go has to be Half.com. Half.com is a service by eBay geared primarily to selling used books, CDs, DVDs, etc. If you are willing to compromise on the condition of the book, you can find deals starting as low as 1 cent. If mint condition is not your thing, then I would seriously recommend this website.
For those of you who have an ear for audio books, do check out Audible.com. Their collection of eBooks is vast, although the same can’t be said for their text books. But a search might prove fruitful.
Another exciting new eBook retailer is Chegg. You might be familiar with Netflix — you order unlimited DVDs a month, they arrive in the mail in one day, you ship it back to them and get new DVDs on your queue. Chegg basically applies the proven Netflix model to textbooks with some surprisingly solid deals all sorts of text books.
Other book retailers to consider would be AbeBooks and Alibris. If you’re using Alibris, make sure to search online for their latest coupons; you can usually shave off a couple of books off your total cost with a simple coupon code.
There are also a few online retailers that specialize in only law books, like LawBooks.com, Wildys.com, and Nolo.com. These often have those hard to find books in stock.
Amazon also made an announcement a few weeks back that it will start stocking law books for the Amazon Kindle. The Kindle is a wonderful eBook reader, and a must for any book lover or serious reader. Although you’ll miss the ability to scribble notes along the page margins, the Kindle’s capacity to hold thousands of books in a package thinner than an iPhone really makes it a worthwhile investment.
Last but not the least, hit your college’s website and ask around for book exchanges, or other students selling off their books. You can at least inspect the books physically if you are apprehensive about buying online. Bookswap.com is one great site for text book exchanges, so is the local section of Craigslist.