Since being founded in 1999 and bought by eBay in 2000, Half.com has been providing customers with excellent deals on books, music, movies, and videogames. With eBay as its parent company, it operates with a trusted name and offers an excellent arena for students to find cheap textbooks online.
- Wide selection
- Standardized shipping charges
- User-friendly website
- eBay integration
Features and Product Selection
Half.com’s selection of textbooks online rivals the inventories of Amazon, AbeBooks and others, making this site a reliable destination for many people’s textbook needs. Independent sellers offer many types of textbooks, as well as videogames, books, music, and movies.
Half.com’s website is inviting, with its pleasing color scheme and tabbed categories. The homepage presents things such as “hot deals”, “best sellers” and “new releases”, along with tabbed categories at the top. Finding your textbooks online can be accomplished by either using Half.com’s search box or by browsing the listings in the “Textbooks” tab.
It’s easy enough to accomplish your goals with Half’s search engine, but it does not offer the same type of detailed search option as Alibris or AbeBooks.
The product pages on Half.com display overviews of the textbook’s information, such as page count, ISBN numbers, edition, publisher, and copyright date. Beneath the details are lists of sellers that offer the textbook, broken down into categories by condition (brand new, like new, very good, good, acceptable). Like other online textbook marketplaces, listings include seller comments that further describe any details about a particular textbook.
Half.com standardizes its shipping policy for all purchases of textbooks online. Sellers have three business days to ship an item via either USPS Media Mail or an expedited method. Expedited options include USPS Priority, Fed Ex Home Delivery, UPS Ground, or Airborne Express Ground Delivery. Charges for Media Mail are $3.99 per textbook, with additional items from the same seller costing only $2.49. Expedited methods cost $5.99 and $4.49, respectively. Buyers will pay slightly less for paperback books
Half.com provides customer service through its Help Desk and Help Wizard. The Help Desk is structured like most other website help sections, offering tips on how to buy and sell textbooks online and providing clarifications about its policies. The Help Wizard allows users to select different issues that they may be having and attempts to provide a specific answer. If an adequate answer is not given, a user can choose to contact customer service by e-mail. Unfortunately, live customer help by phone is not easily accessible like Barnes & Noble, eCampus, Textbooks.com, or TextbooksRus.com.
If buyers experience a problem after buying textbooks online, they can contact sellers through Half’s “My Account” section. With seller or Half.com approval, a buyer has seven days to return an item once it has been authorized.
If a buyer has serious problems with an order and the seller does not respond or offer a refund, a buyer can file a claim. However, users are limited to only one claim per month and three claims in a lifetime. This policy may make some people uneasy about buying textbooks online from Half.com
If a textbook is for sale, it is likely that it will be listed on Half.com. While Half’s return policy leaves something to be desired, its huge assortment of textbooks online, eBay integration and user-friendly website make it a good place for anybody to consider if they want to find inexpensive textbooks online.