Barnes & Noble is the largest book retailer in the United States, so it’s not surprising that Barnes & Noble provides one of the best places to buy and sell textbooks online. TopTenREVIEWS Silver Award winner Barnes & Noble receives accolades for buying textbooks online with a large textbook selection, a well respected and trusted brand name and some of the best customer service in the business.
Barnes & Noble was a pioneer in the book selling business and built their reputation as a premier and respected company. Aside from books and textbooks, they also sell audiobooks, e-books, movies, toys and games, magazines, video games, and home and gift items. Their website, Barnes & Noble, is the portal to a plethora of these items and textbooks online.
Like Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble sells both new and used textbooks online. New textbooks are sold directly from Barnes & Noble, and orders for used and out-of-print textbooks are filled indirectly through its trusted Authorized Seller Program. Barnes & Noble’s Authorized Seller Program only accepts professional businesses as third-party sellers, so they stand behind every purchase made from their authorized sellers and provide a satisfaction guarantee.
Also differing from Amazon is the way in which customers can sell their textbooks online. To sell your books at Barnes & Noble, visit the textbook selling section and enter the textbook’s ISBN. You will receive a price quote for the specified book. If you agree to the selling price, Barnes and Noble will provide you with a return label, allowing you to ship the textbook free of charge. Once Barnes & Noble receives your textbook(s), they will issue you a check for your sale.
The Barnes & Noble homepage presents a lot of information to the reader in an organized and clear manner. At the top of the homepage lie a number of large tabs, each representing a main product category. The “textbooks” tab is readily visible and provides a gateway for users to find textbooks online at Barnes & Noble.
At the Barnes & Noble main textbooks page, the first thing you’ll see is a large search box, where you can search for textbooks by title, author, keyword, or ISBN. Adjacent to the search box, you’ll see a link that allows you to get quotes for used textbooks online.
To the left of the webpage is a list of 17 textbook topics and subjects, and the bottom half of the page contains links to top-selling textbook categories. These lists of topics and categories promote easy browsing of textbooks online.
Clicking on the link to a textbook will bring you to its product page, where you’ll see a picture of the textbook’s cover, an overview of its details, and editorial and customer reviews. Most of this information is organized in a tabbed fashion, making it simple to go from viewing one category to another.
The product page displays prices for the textbook in new and used (if available) conditions, as well as an estimated shipping window. For those who may want to order their textbooks online and then pick them up, a box exists that allows users to enter their zip code for local pickup at a Barnes & Noble retail store.
One small issue we had with the textbook product page was the visibility of the link to the available used textbooks. While the new selling price of the textbook is very large and easy to see, the prices and links for the used textbooks are small and somewhat difficult to notice.
However, once you click the small “see all available” used textbooks link, the subsequent webpage is as informative and organized as the rest of the website. Here, you’ll see lists of used textbooks online, detailing their condition, shipment options, and seller.
Ordering textbooks online is simple: add the item to your cart, choose your payment method and shipping preference, and complete the transaction. Barnes & Noble accepts most major credit cards and PayPal.
Barnes & Noble gives customers flexibility in shipping price and speed. Multiple options are available for domestic and international shipping, including standard, expedited, overnight and same-day delivery (in Manhattan). You can also choose to pick up your textbooks at your local Barnes & Noble retail store.
Like Amazon, Barnes & Noble offers “Fast and Free Delivery” on many orders over $25, allowing you to purchase your textbooks online and receive them in four business days or less.
The Barnes & Noble website has a comprehensive help section that will likely answer most people’s questions about purchasing textbooks online.
If a customer has further questions the help section doesn’t address, Barnes and Noble provides easy access to customer service representatives. Clicking on the large “Contact Customer Service” link in the help section of the website takes you to a webpage where you can e-mail your inquiry to the company. Phone lines are also open to their customer service center at 1-800-THE-BOOK (1-800-843-2665) for U.S. customers, or 201-559-3882 for international customers.
Buying textbooks online at Barnes & Noble can save you money by enrolling in their membership program. For an annual $25 fee, a membership will save you 10% off the list price on almost any purchase from Barnes & Noble, and 40% and 20% off the list prices of best sellers and hard covers, respectively.
Alongside the membership program, Barnes & Noble encourages customers to take advantage of the Barnes & Noble MasterCard. The card earns 5% cash back when used at Barnes & Noble, and earns one reward point for every dollar spent elsewhere. For every 2500 reward points accumulated, the customer will be issued a $25 Barnes & Noble gift card.
For those who may be buying textbooks online and on-the-go, Barnes & Noble provides free iPhone, Blackberry, Windows Mobile, and Android applications.
For textbooks purchased directly from Barnes & Noble, customers have 14 days to initiate a return or exchange. Items can be mailed to the returns department or brought directly to a Barnes & Noble retail store. Those paying with PayPal take note: If you pay for an item via PayPal and return it to a retail store, you’ll only be eligible to receive a Barnes & Noble gift card or store credit.
For those who purchased textbooks online through Barnes & Noble’s Authorized Seller Program, the return window is extended to 30 days. Mail the unwanted textbooks to the address on the packing slip and the refund or exchange will be on its way soon after.
Like Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble offers a huge inventory of new and used textbooks. With multiple shipping options, dependable customer service, an accessible website, and convenient mobile applications, Barnes & Noble is a premier destination for students to sell and buy textbooks online.