Textbooks can be the second most expensive part of going to university next to the tuition fees. If you are a student, you might be shocked to learn that some new textbooks can cost you above SGD$100! Instead of buying brand new textbooks, consider buying secondhand ones that cost a fraction of the price. Here are some of my recommended sites that that sell secondhand textbooks in Singapore.
BookInBookOut.com has got to be the most popular site to buy secondhand textbooks. If you cannot find a textbook here, it is highly unlikely that you’ll find one in any of the other sites below (though there have been exceptions). Since the site has a very large user base, prices for secondhand textbooks have grown to be increasingly competitive. For example, I once managed to get a pristine condition secondhand Thomas’ Calculus 11th Ed. for $10 when new ones can cost up to $100+!
The site is also very user friendly. To buy or sell your own textbooks, all you need to do is login using “facebook connect” or you can even create your own account. Then just search for your textbook you’re after and click “Buy” or “Sell one like this” if you’re planning to sell your own copy. When you place you intention to buy a textbook, the seller will automatically be notified and he/she will be sent your contact details. THe listing will also be removed until the seller decides to reactivate it.
Overall I have had a very pleasant experience with BookInBookOut.com with all my past purchases though you may come across a few unresponsive sellers from time to time causing you to miss on on the other offers while you away a reply. However, conditions of all the textbooks were exactly as advertised (most of the time better). A highly recommended site for anyone looking to purchase secondhand textbooks.
2. School Forums
Not many schools have active secondhand textbook forms. NUS (see: IVLE Second Hand Used Textbooks Forum) has a very active forum however it is only open to NUS students. Books here tend to be slightly more expensive and of a much lower quality (normally overused so request pictures if you’re picky) then what you would get at BookInBookOut.com. Still generally a good alternative if you are unable to find the books you want on BookInBookOut.com.
For NTU, SMU and SUTD students, I would highly recommend that you contact your NUS friends to gain excess to the NUS Secondhand Used Textbooks Forum if you’re unable to find your textbooks at BookInBookOut.com.
BookFishing has many features with I love like the ability to tag specific module codes to your textbooks which makes it much easier to search for textbooks that are relevant to your course if you’re looking for alternatives. In addition, it also has a time period for which you can list your textbook for sale. From 7 – 180 days (default: 90 days). After which, your book automatically gets removed from the site which decreases the likelihood of you coming across a dead buyer which you are very likely to come across on BookInBookOut.com.
The downside of BookFishing is that there are very few sellers/buyers so you’re unlikely to find the books you want most of the time or at a very good price. However, it’s a site that is definitely worth visiting as I’ve personally managed to find a few textbooks that I have not been able to find on the other sites.
4. HWZ Forums
Hardwarezone Forums is a very popular Singapore Forum and it has its very own Campus Zone forum for NUS, NTU and SMU students. It even has its own Textbook Garage for you to sell your books. NTU students should also consider looking for and selling their books at the NTU only sales thread here.
5. Other Sites
There are many other sites such as SGTextbooks.com and BookyWood.com that have excluded because we feel that they are still largely under developed. They may however still be worth looking at as some of these sites like BookyWood.com allow you to rent textbooks though you are very likely to be able to sell back your secondhand textbooks at the same if not at a slightly lower price then what you purchased them for.
If you use any other sites and would like to recommend them to us, please feel free to email us at share [at] zueet.com, tweet us at @zueet_com or comment on our Facebook page. We love hearing from you!