People's Choice Nominees: Best Discount Textbook Provider

Voting for the 2011 Education Resource People's Choice Awards has closed. Click here to see the final list of winners.

By Sarah Wright

Buying assigned books can be a discouraging experience. Brand-new textbooks can be hundreds of dollars each, and used books are often rather pricey, especially considering the bad condition that some of them are in. This somewhat hidden cost of attending college is something that's recently drawn a lot of attention. These three nominees for Best Discount Textbook Provider have responded to the problem.

best online study guides peoples choice awards

Flat World Knowledge

Taking a direct approach, Flat World Knowledge is a textbook production company that has set out to address the problems with traditional textbook publication. The company has developed a system wherein effective methods like peer review and expert authoring have been preserved in the production cycle. The big difference is in the consumption of the books: instructors can customize books to their needs, and students can choose between different book formats. These formats - audio, soft-cover and print-it-yourself - are offered at various price points.

College students in need of a cheap solution to expensive textbooks can search the offerings on to find what they need. With a general goal of providing students with tools to make success possible, the site offers e-textbook rental in addition to used and new textbooks. When you're done with your books, you can sell them back to the site for a fair price. And it doesn't stop there. also offers resources like homework help and a note taking platform.


As the name indicates, textbook rental is the main thrust of BookRenter's business. The site offers popular textbooks for rent for a period of 125, 90, 60, 45 or 30 days, with the price varying by duration. Students receive a hard copy of the book, with free shipping both ways, and you can treat the book as your own, highlighting and underlining as needed. If you end up wanting to have a hard copy of the book to keep, BookRenter also offers new and used copies, with some used titles available at steep discounts.

All three nominees are highly deserving, but only one can win. Support your favorite, and don't forget to get the word out and vote on Facebook before October 21st!

Not on Facebook? We have a SurveyMonkey too to vote for your favorite education tools and resources!

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