A subsidiary of eBay, Half.com has been in business since 2000 and sells books, music, movies and games via third-party vendors. Half.com is a popular go-to site for online book purchases, particularly by college students seeking good deals on textbooks. Half.com says it offers products at “half off the list price” – hence the name.

Rank Chart
Book Formats
Our Score
Print, E, Audio
Print, E, Audio
Print, E, Audio
Print, Audio

The Good

  • Cheap textbook prices
  • Great features

Half.com features lots of new and used print books, as well as some ebooks and audio books. To the increased delight of college students who were visiting Half.com for cheap textbook prices, the site also now offers textbook rentals for a period of a month, quarter or semester. Some of the print books can be rented as well.

Half.com offers most of the features you’d typically expect to find in an online bookstore, including Browse by Category, a sale section and a wish list that you can save for later reference. Although the Browse by Category results are somewhat difficult to read due to the small fonts and pictures, viewing a specific title is easier on the eyes and purchasing options are broken down into categories of Brand New, Like New, Very Good, Good and Acceptable. There are also descriptions listed by the vendors such as “spine cracked” or “some minor cover damage” so you can get a better idea of the quality of book you’ll be purchasing if it’s not brand new. There is also a small sidebar that will suggest similar books to you based on the one you’re looking at.

The Bad

  • Not as many titles available
  • Basic search function needs improvement
  • Lack of reviews

In comparing a list of New York Times bestselling-books on Half.com with the other online bookstores we reviewed, we found that although Half.com’s prices are on the lower end of the spectrum, it certainly doesn’t offer the titles at the promised “half off the list price,” nor does it carry a hearty selection. We had a lot of luck finding print and audio versions of the titles, but ebook versions were sparse.

We didn’t find Half.com’s basic search function to return results as accurately as we would have liked – the advanced search function worked much better, and we recommend using this to find what you’re looking for more efficiently.

Another downside of Half.com is the lack of reviews: there are no editorial reviews, and users can rate books from one to five stars but the site doesn’t offer the option for them to write a review. If you know what you’re looking for or reading the book jacket’s plot description is enough for you, then you may not mind shopping Half.com – but if you want more information before opening your wallet, you’ll have to look up reviews elsewhere.

The Bottom Line

If you’re a college student on a budget who is looking to rent or buy textbooks on the cheap, Half.com can probably suit your needs. Otherwise, there are plenty of other online bookstores we reviewed that offer lower prices, easier browsing and full reviews of the titles they carry.

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2 Half.com Reviews

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  1. User Score


    May 27th, 2017

    Typically don’t have what I am looking for (textbooks) and can sometimes be spotty with product quality.

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  2. User Score


    May 16th, 2015 West Covina, CA

    Half.com: Irresponsible business, Zero customer service

    If you intend to sell books thru Half.com, please be warned and advised. This site does not care about sellers. They cancelled our selling account after 10 years of long standing good history, because of a supposed shipping violation; they never explained the violation even though we requested explanation several times. Only possible communication with them is via email (they call themselves “an online company”); the online customer representative was very rude and not helpful, ignored all our questions or concerns and simply kept referring us to their “help” pages. Since half.com accounts link to eBay.com, this caused our eBay.com account to also be blocked, which is a totally different site with different policies. This blocks seller activity also on the other site, and doesn’t even let you use the account for buying any product; but half.com did not care about helping resolve the situation. The eBay people tried to help but they could not do anything about the already blocked account.

    On top of this half.com does not immediately pay seller revenues, as policy they only pay twice a month and they provide no option for requesting immediate payment if you are in urgent need of the money. So upon cancelling an account like they did to us, they place your pending payments on a 60-day hold period, which we doubt is legal. After 60 days when you try to reclaim the frozen funds they come up with another list of hurdles and “account identity validations” in order to release your money. In our case we did not have any extra identity validations to do since our account had current up-to-date information, so then the customer representative simply stopped responding to our email requests for payment. (There is no way to contact them via phone).

    We had to call ebay for advise, they provided a phone number for half.com 800-545-9857, when you call this number it is an endless loop voice response system that never connects you to a real person. So, when there is a problem with these people, there is no simple way to resolve issues and you are stuck, and THEY ARE EXTREMELY DISREGARDING AND DISRESPECTING OF SELLERS, who are THE ONES WHO ALLOW THEM TO EARN THE STEEP FEES they charge on every book sale.

    If you intend to sell with this company beware of their questionable and unfair practices, try to take your business somewhere else.

    Thank you.

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