TextbookMe – The Cheap Textbook Search Engine: Written iPhone App Review
One of my favorite things I used to do for my friends at college was save them hundreds of dollars on textbook costs by showing them how to shop for lower prices online. I hated to see how campus bookstores drove prices through the roof, and I dreaded having to buy new books for the semester. There’s a plethora of ways to buy your books at a cheaper price, and gadgets like the iPhone have made the process easier than course registration.
This is where TextbookMe comes in handy. Developed by Pure Creations, Inc., this handy dandy reference app is sure to save you money. The app searches for book prices through TextbookLand.com, which is a site that has been around since 1999.
Concept and Functionality:
TextbookMe was designed to serve one purpose, which is to help you find the cheapest price for a textbook by comparing prices at many online stores. If you do any sort of online shopping, it’s pretty likely that you’re familiar with comparison shopping. I’m a complete and total bookworm, so I’m highly intrigued by apps like TextbookMe.
The app’s interface simple and easy to navigate. When searching for a book, you have the option to either manually enter information such as title or ISBN number or search via barcode. Personally I prefer trying to find a book by its barcode first.
The app’s barcode scanner is accurate and fast, but it takes a little while for the app to actually complete the search for books. Once your results are displayed, there is even an option to click a link and purchase the book from the website of your choice.
If you’re planning on comparing prices for more than one book, the app has a built-in list function which helps to keep track of everything you searched for. This is extremely useful, especially if you’re a list freak like me.
Wait, I just read your mind! You thought “I don’t need to purchase textbooks, therefore I don’t need this app.” Yes, websites and apps like this market themselves as textbook search engines. However, almost all the sites they pull results from also sell regular books. This means you’re not limited solely to searching for educational literature.
I’d have to say that the app’s two strongest features, the barcode scanner and list function, are what makes TextbookMe such a great app to use. Even if you’re not going to purchase books from the links provided, you can still keep track of which books you need to buy and how much they’re selling for.
Other than being able to search for books and keeping track of them, the app doesn’t have very many features. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it would be cool to have an export feature that would allow you to e-mail your book list. This would be great for people who are more comfortable with making purchases on a computer instead of a smartphone.
It would be great if there was a way to filter prices by condition and format. Many textbooks can be rented or even downloaded as an e-book, and I know of a few textbook comparison sites which include these in their results. Even though price results in the app show whether the book is new, used, or a rental, I think results would be a little more organized if the user was able to specify exactly what they were looking for.
You can’t go wrong with a free app, especially one which is designed to save you a boatload of money. If this is your first textbook price comparison rodeo, then this app shouldn’t disappoint you. Remember, you’re not limited to searching for educational material, so TextbookMe is great for everyone.
TextbookMe is compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad. Requires iOS 3.1.3 or later
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