Students Find Alternatives to Bookstores

The costs of textbooks is constantly rising,students are forced to find alternatives in order to save. 

Delaney Smith, Staff Writer

It’s no wonder students are finding other sources such as Amazon, Chegg and Valore to purchase their required texts. Rather than pay the exorbitant prices at university bookstores, students have turned to other sources to buy textbooks at reduced prices.

“It’s really not worth the money to pay so much at the bookstore for a book that I only need for a semester especially our GPS books. I’ll never look at the book again,” stated Sophomore Katherine Edwards.

In addition to lower prices for new and used books, these companies also rent textbooks at an even lower price. For students that don’t write excessively in their books and don’t need to keep the book once the class is over, renting is the better option.

According to Senior Chandler Phillips, “I rented a lot of my books for my general education classes. If there was a book I felt like I might use again in my major, I bought it. When the semester is over, the online company emails me a prepaid return label, and I simply drop the textbook in the mail.”

At Wingate University and other colleges, students are using social media to sell and buy books. Wingate University has a Facebook page dedicated solely to the buying and selling of books. The price is typically low to buy and the seller gets more money than he would by selling it back to the bookstore.

“I bought three of my books from other Wingate students last year. It was easy to meet them on campus and often they had the same professor, so their highlighted text and written notes were helpful,” explained Junior Anna McCollum.

Another student, Katie Wilson, explained her online purchase story that almost went wrong. “I bought two of my books for GPS online and the company only sent me one of the two. I contacted customer service and let them know my issue. They were very easy to work with and gave me a full refund for both books.” This is an example of when online book buying isn’t always reliable; however, “Besides this incident, all of my textbooks that I have bought online have shipped to me successfully.”

While buying at the bookstore ensures that students purchased the correct text, sometimes the book is not available until after classes have started. Students also have a difficult time paying the higher prices when their refund checks from financial aid are not received until after school has started.

An alternative to the bookstore prices has proven successful at Appalachian State University of Boone, North Carolina. Each semester students pay a rental fee (approximately $140) that covers all their books.

Other universities such as Western Carolina, Fayetteville State and Elizabeth City State have also found success in the flat fee rental per semester.

Ethan Crump, a sophomore at ASU, was sympathetic to the plight of students at other colleges. “I never think about where I’m going to find my book or how much it will cost. I just go online and order what I need based on the syllabus. I can’t imagine trying to find the cheapest deal and hoping that the book arrives before class starts.”

Some of the textbooks required easily top $100 per each class; for a student taking 5 courses and several of the professors requiring more that one text, it’s not unusual for a student to spend more than $750 each semester.

Comparing that cost to the cost students at private universities who are already paying much more in tuition seems exorbitant.  For college students, every penny counts. There is no reason to buy textbooks at full price when there are other easy, cheaper options.

Check out more info about the bookstore and its pricing at:

Edited by: Sara Gunter

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