The Chronicle’s View: The Bookstore Diaries

Alternatives to the high textbook prices at the U bookstore are a popular topic at the beginning of every semester. No matter how many times the prices are explained to us, they still seem too high.

Does feeling empathetic for a friend’s plight excuse their bad behavior? If your friend is having a bad day and is a jerk to you, should you forgive him or her because he or she is having a bad day?

Maybe for a while. If it becomes a consistent problem, then eventually you’ll want to end the relationship.

Likewise, we understand why the bookstore has such high prices, but does that make it OK?

Beat the Bookstore is a business capitalizing on students who say they’ve had enough.

Many professors are relying more and more on paperback “readers” or “workbooks” from local publishers. Electronic reserve continues to gain popularity. Some professors are creating their own textbooks for their students to use.

Some classes still have to go old school and in those cases, online bookstores are usually cheaper. Every semester, more students are turning to or eBay.

We understand that unloading books from a truck and organizing them onto shelves requires a lot of money. If there are so many alternatives, then why can’t our bookstore figure out any?

Despite their high prices, the bookstore stays in business because the convenience of buying books on campus is really nice. We don’t want to lose that.

The relationship between students and the bookstore is beginning to feel like a failing marriage in which one partner refuses to compromise and the other is tired of the guilt that comes from cheating.

Oh, bookstore, find a way to lower your prices. We need you. We want you. We want to come home.

Orchestrate textbook exchanges where students can sell old books to new students. Why do you give us $12 for a $60 book and then resell it the next semester for $40? If putting it back on the shelf costs $28, just charge a $5 fee for introducing me to someone who will need it next semester.

Or, find a way to put it back on the shelf for less than $28.

If you can’t, that’s OK, but make up for it in other ways. Never say you won’t buy back my book. If it’s not being used the next semester, hold it until it will be used or turn around and sell it to another school that will use it.

If Beat the Bookstore can sell it to me for less, why can’t you? It just doesn’t make sense. We can work this out. Quit being so stubborn.