Textbook sellers compete for your dollars, loyalty

By Barbara Boyd

GROSSMONT COLLEGE — The semester begins, you find yourself feeling lucky that you have your classes… then you look up the books you will need. That smile you had is gone, and the first thought that comes to mind is, “how am I going to pay for these?”

It would be safe to say that second or third year students know some tricks for buying books–where to go and where not to go.  As a first year student, all I knew, before researching for this article, was that I needed those books.

I assumed that the only place I could get my books was from the campus bookstore. However, I learned that there are stores and Internet sites that specialize in selling and even renting college textbooks. These stores and sites in some cases offer books at cheaper prices than the campus bookstore.  But, I found, there are pitfalls.  For example, buying books from different bookstores can be time consuming. You have to locate a store, then spend time to determine if  your book  is even there.

Purchasing  books through the internet can present problems too.  Although said to be  “just a click away,” they may take a long time to get to your house.  Waiting for your books to come, and knowing that there is a possibility that your books might get lost in shipping–such tension can make buying textbooks through the internet unacceptable to some people.

Although potentially more expensive, buying textbooks from the campus bookstore can be rewarding. Upper classman Jeff Barnes said that even though he spent close to $300 on his books for this semester he feels he made a better choice buying at the campus bookstore  than elsewhere.

“I buy the book here then sell it back to them.  The more they need the book for the next semester, the more money I get back,” he explained.  In such fashion, he said, he can use the refunds  to pay for books for the following semester.

According to Janet Althaus, bookstore supervisor,  if you choose the campus bookstore, then you will be giving back to the campus. “Buying the books here helps the school; the school gets 6.5% of all purchases, and if you buy here we will match the price up to 10% of the other book stores,” she said.   She then clarified, “but not if you got your books online.”

She also said that it is convenient because financial aid is accepted at the campus book store, so it’s not coming out of your pocket.

So, there are pros and cons to either buying at the campus bookstore or elsewhere.  If you do choose the campus bookstore, it  is open at the following times: Monday through Thursday, 7:30 a.m to 9 p.m.;  Friday, 7:30 a.m  to 5:00 p.m.;  Saturday 10 a.m.  to 2 p.m.  The campus bookstore is closed on Sunday.

However, if you decide that you want to go somewhere else for your books, here are some options that may be found on line: Ross Books, Barnes& Noble; texbookrevolution.org;  amazon.com and chegg.com

Boyd is student in MediaComm 132; contact her at BarbaraB@gcsummit.com

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