Alternate options present themselves for thrifty students to buy textbooks, including Internet

By Staff Writer
September 12, 2002

The rising cost of tuition is not the only thing that has college students talking these days. The price of textbooks on campuses are sky-rocketing. Many students are turning to some non-traditional methods of buying their books.

The price of higher education is an inevitable obligation for those who choose attend college after graduating from high school. With tuition fees, room and board fees, computer lab fees, parking permit fees and student activity fees, the list just seems to continue on and on. Textbook costs are no stranger to this list of college fees either.

Within recent years, alternatives to shopping in the campus bookstore have been provided via the Internet. Many book retailers as well as new, innovative websites are selling college textbooks through the Internet to make the process more convenient and affordable to weary college students.

However, the advantage of online textbook shopping seems to be more appealing at first glance, but a comparison of price shows that avoiding the campus bookstore may not always be advantageous.

When deciding to use an online textbook site rather than the bookstore, one must take into consideration other factors such as shipping and handling charges and delivery time. Since many students aren’t aware of the required texts for their classes before arriving at school, they may not be able order textbooks through the Internet in order for them to be delivered in a timely fashion.

“I just buy my books here. It’s easier,” senior, early childhood and elementary education major, Amanda Cappelli said.

Some college and university bookstores are run independently, whereas companies like Follett run others, such as Cabrini’s bookstore. Since Cabrini’s store is run by a book retailer, students can access the eFollett.com website to lookup what texts they will need for the upcoming semester, provided the professor has submitted the information. This system allows students the time necessary to place orders via the Internet and have their books before classes begin.

The cost of textbooks is overwhelmingly high to most. These high cost are due to the pricey color photographs and graphics used in many of the texts, and the lack of abundant orders. Unlike paperbacks that may sell quickly at a book retailer such as Barnes & Noble or Borders, textbooks are not sold in large quantities, therefore causing an increase in the price.

“Freshman year was awful,” Capp0elli said referring to the cost of her textbooks during her first semester at Cabrini. “I think I spent about $500. It was my highest amount ever. This [semester] I spent about $220. I’m proud of myself.”

These high costs prompt campus stores to buy books back from students and then resell at a cheaper “used” priced. However, the buy-back price is rarely anywhere near being the same amount as the original selling price. Some websites, such as Half.com, not only sell textbooks, but also buy-back textbooks or allow students to sell their books to others at a more reasonable price.

Though it may seem that textbooks are the main commodities behind campus bookstore profits, the actual money-maker is the novelty items bearing the school’s name and logo, and the numerous clothing items sold to students and their visiting relatives.

"Elementary Algebra for College Students"
Course: Contemporary Mathematics II &quot MAT MAT 110
STORE
NEW
USED
Cabrini/eFollet.com $92.75 $69.75
Amazon.com 85.53 f 40.00
Barnes & Noble.com 91.00 68.25
Varsitybooks.com 107.99 n/a
Walmart.com 76.98 n/a
Half.com n/a 21.99
"Practice of Public Relations"
Course: Public Relations – COM 360
STORE
NEW
USED
Cabrini/eFollet.com $112.00 $84.00
Amazon.com 110.00 f57.79
Barnes & Noble.com 110.00 82.50
Varsitybooks.com 112.99 n/a
Walmart.com 99.00 n/a
Half.com n/a 79.50
"Human Biology"
Course: Health and the Human Body &quot BIO BIO 107
STORE
NEW
USED
Cabrini/eFollet.com $85.50 $69.75
Amazon.com 84.00 f 43.00
Barnes & Noble.com 84.00 n/a
Varsitybooks.com 86.99 n/a
Walmart.com 75.41 n/a
Half.com

n/a

50.00

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