by Mike Garofalo
Purchasing books for school can be a menacing task. If you are lucky, you may have a friend or sibling who is willing to pass down his or her old textbooks. Most of us are left with the options of shopping around on the Internet or ordering directly from eFollett — which works in coordination with our on-campus bookstore.
Many students are turning to the Internet as a more economical alternative. Despite the potential of finding good deals online, bookstore manager Joe Judge said that “if something changes with your class, we can make it right [in person] — something that will be hard to find on the Internet.”
It may be hard to beat the convenience of the campus bookstore, but what about the price? According to Judge, all new books are sold at their suggested retail price.
“New books that have no list or preprinted price are sold at an agreed upon margin between the institution and eFollett,” Judge said.
The book Courts, Judges and Politics costs $66 at the bookstore, but can be bought for as little as $44 on Amazon.com. Fraud Examination is $175.50 new at the university store, but can be found on Amazon.com for $136.90 new and $88 used.
Although there are certainly cheaper books available online, one must remember to factor in shipping fees when applicable.
Freshman Katherine Johnson used an online store last semester, but “when they came in, they weren’t the books that I needed for the class.”
This time around, Johnson went to the campus bookstore instead. Sophomore Jason Lozito made his decision to use the store simply based on “convenience.”
Freshman John Vassos, a marketing major, buys most of his books from the bookstore.
“I also borrow some books from friends who had the course before,” he said.
He mentioned that “everyone wins” because his friends can trade the books in for cash when he returns them.
As far as used books, the benefit to the in-store purchase is the ability to see just how “used” a given book is. Many students will read through a book once, and return it at the end of a semester. Some books are returned in virtually new condition. What an Internet site considers a good used book may vary — a highlighted book is still readable, but many will find the neon yellow to be very distracting.
One anonymous student tries to avoid buying books altogether. He feels comfortable using the library, especially when multiple copies are available.
All students who sell back their used books to the bookstore — despite what many consider to be a minor margin of trade-in value — are contributing to the system for next semester’s students.
“Job number one for the Rider Bookstore is to maximize the amount of used textbooks on our shelves,” Judge said.
He also said this is not always possible, such as when a class requires the latest edition. Although some classes will inevitably require new editions, and thus not lend themselves to the option of used textbooks, many other texts, namely classic paperback novels, will be very versatile year to year.
In the end it boils down to the fact that the growth of the Internet is certainly providing some serious competition for schoolbook sales. The campus bookstore is certainly able to provide more personal customer service, but students usually face the suggested retail price. Students must weigh the benefits and drawbacks of internet purchases.