CourseSmart logo Have you ever had trouble finding the right textbook for the right price? Don't you just hate it when you have to drag deadweight of books from class to class? Aren't you tired of piling them up against one another in your room, like in a twisted version of a Tetris game?
 
Well, then the next resource is right for you. How about upgrading your writing to a whole new level – time to go “E”. Coursesmart.com is a great source of e-books and other educational materials.
 
CourseSmart Compare PricesWe've found some great deals on this site and we find it to be a great option for students searching for e-materials.
 
For example, for one psychology book we checked and compared to the price on Amazon.com, the CourseSmart.com price is almost 40% cheaper.
 
Given this attractive option, why would you want to buy a textbook copy now?!
 
Pros
 
One of the most important things we pay attention to, when reviewing any service/website, is its online social presence. (As you've probably noticed, if you have read our reviews before). Well, we can tell you that CourseSmart.com is getting top marks on this particular part of our test.
 
Their Facebook page is informative and well maintained. What we especially liked were the videos attached to the page: they were mostly promotional, but at the same time quite informative.
 
However, back to the website – it's easy to navigate and reasonably logical. Most importantly, however, is that it facilitates your search to a great extent. Apart from this, the most important things about this resource are that they have tons of books available in their online library – which is a great advantage.
 
CourseSmart feature page We also liked their “Features” page, which clearly describes the essence of the products they offer and what you receive with each of the given purchase options.
 
Their partners are also worth mentioning. The venerable Purdue Online Writing Lab (OWL), Wiley Plus (reputable online courses solution) and others are cooperating with them on this effort.
 
Cons
 
There isn't that much to say about CourseSmart.com in terms of cons. Of course, this doesn't make this particular service the optimal solution for buying courses online. This makes it a highly preferable option. However, at the same time – we are all individuals, so some people might not find this service to be right for them.
 
In addition, there isn't that much information on the site to browse through (readily available that is, because most of it is hidden in the footer). We consider this to be an overly simplified solution for the site.
 
We couldn't find some of the latest books on this site, and college specific books. Again, this list is pretty limited – most of the books are there.
 
Conclusion
 
We suggest you consider using this service – it's time to go digital and leave all of those heavy textbooks in the 20th century. There is a trial option available, so you can always back down and stop using their services.
 
Browse through their available books, and compare their prices to other similar services and major booksellers, just to be sure that you're making the right choice. We are sure that there are better deals online, but the margin might not be worth the effort, because there aren't that many cheaper services and prices vary from book to book.

Comments (7)

  • Juergen Posted:

    CourseSmart is not a scam. As long as you are satisfied with reading on screen, and ONLY on screen, I guess they are just fine.
    However, if you want to, or have to, print a page or two, you are in trouble. Yes you can print (up to 10 pages at a time, and 150% of the pages in the book total), but the pages come out at smaller than a quarter piece of paper. We tried this from various Browsers, and different operating systems. Always the same result.
    After contacting Coursesmart, they graciously reset the page counter to 0, but other than that they referred to a non-existing software download link, and declared the issue as solved.
    In the middle of the course, our daughter ended up buying the printed book. She is hoping for a refund. Let’s see how that works out.
    I would not recommend, or use their service.

    • Jane McKinsey Posted:

      Hello, Juergen!
      We would really appreciate, if you could update us on the issue – further on! Thank you!

  • College Student Posted:

    If you are considering purchasing a CourseSmart product I recommend that you either learn from my mistake and DO NOT BUY ANY BOOKS from CourseSmart or check out the free trial before you decide to purchase.
    After I paid $104 for a microbiology textbook thinking it would be a convenient way to have all my heavy text books with me where ever I go, I found out that there are so many cons it was not worth all the trouble. I ended up feeling ripped off after my 180day online rental.

    PROS:
    -light weight; don’t have to carry heavy text books
    -each chapter is organized by quick links on the side
    -easy to look up chapters, terms, and page numbers
    -allows you to copy, highlight, take notes, print, or share selected text (*with limitations)

    CONS:
    -too expensive; not worth it
    -after a short two week time frame from the purchase date you will no longer be able to return or sell this book back
    -it is NOT VERY USER FRIENDLY!!!
    -must log in multiple times because the program will sometimes log out without warning
    ***username and password cannot be saved in browser history
    -can highlight but hard to select the exact area that you need highlighted
    -can copy and paste but you must first select the area of text that you would like to copy, then press the copy button at the top of the screen, then a new window will pop up, then you must reselect and copy the text that is inside the new window
    *short-cut commands will not work (for example: pressing control+c on your pc or command+c on your mac will not copy the selected text)
    ***if the font was bold, italics, etc. in the text it will be changed to a default font in new window where it is no longer bold, italics, etc.
    ***if copying multiple paragraphs the paragraphs will no longer be neatly separated
    ***not allowed to copy or paste any images/pictures or tables from the text
    -only allowed to print 10pages at once
    -when taking notes your notes are only visible one note at a time after you have clicked the notes tab, and selected the note that you would like to view
    ***cannot view notes while simultaneously viewing the text
    -while reading only one page is visible view at a time
    -there is no option available to view two pages at once like in a printed text
    -if you need a text-to-speech application it WILL NOT work
    “The Apple OSX VoiceOver system can be used with CourseSmart to provide text-to-speech capabilities. Users with experience using VoiceOver on iOS devices can also use it on the iPad and iPhone. CourseSmart cannot support users in the use of the Apple products”
    ***quote taken from CourseSmart help page

    …If the cons listed above are not issues for you then by all means enjoy your experience with CourseSmart. My expectations may have just been too high for an online text.

    Sincerely,

    AN UNSATISFIED STUDENT

    Overall Rating:
    Avoid It

    Recommended:
    No

    • Jack Milgram Posted:

      Wow, thanks a lot, College Student:) Seems like you had your share of problems with CourseSmart.com?! We appreciate your detailed and informative review and are sure that other students will find it useful too:)

      We hope that you won’t have any trouble with this kind of services in the future!

      Good luck with your academics and have a great week:)

  • Aarron Posted:

    CourseSmart is a scam. In that, it’s such a bad product as to be considered theft.

    The mobile app rarely works, the quality and resolution are extremely poor, and they refuse to give refunds.

    Avoid this garbage at all costs.

    • Jack Milgram Posted:

      Hi Aaron,
      thanks for sharing your opinion. We highly appreciate your comment

  • Shannon Johnston Posted:

    This is complete GARBAGE! This sight CONSTANTLY locks me out of my book! It is so fustrating when I have assignments due!!! Complete waste of money….