Off-campus options offer more for your money

By By Clayton Norlen

By Clayton Norlen

It pays to shop around.

When purchasing textbooks, students have options — whether they are shopping on campus, online or at alternate sellers such as Beat the Bookstore.

But each semester, students spend anywhere from $100 to $600 on required textbooks for their classes. For many students, even used prices can be too expensive.

“The (University) Bookstore is the only place they can rob you without a gun,” said Dwayne Madry, a senior in history and chemistry.

As a freshman, Madry purchased his textbooks from the U Bookstore, but now, he purchases books online at to save money or prints pages from his class readings off of whenever they’re available.

Hollie Fletcher, textbook sales manager for the University Bookstore, recommends that if students are looking to save money on textbooks, the best thing they can do is buy used books, shop early and shop around.

“Our main goal here is to save students money and get students what they need,” Fletcher said.

Currently, the U Bookstore’s shelves carry more than 40 percent used textbooks. U Bookstore administrators said they are trying to increase that total by placing a guaranteed buy-back on textbooks if professors guarantee to use the same text for at least three years.

Fletcher, along with U Bookstore Associate Director Shane Girton, explained that the U Bookstore is a “not-for-profit” business and that its revenue goes to cover operating costs. Any additional revenue goes into a general fund to pay for whatever bonds the U currently has.

Still, many students go elsewhere to get their textbooks.

“At Beat the Bookstore we’ll always buy the books for more and sell the books for less,” said Zack Neitpp, owner of Beat the Bookstore, located west of campus near Presidents’ Circle at 201 S. 1300 East.

Because the books can go fast, Neitpp recommends that students come in early to be sure the books they need are there.

For the consumer, it’s a matter of deciding what matters most to them when purchasing textbooks: availability, pricing, shipping or convenience.

The U Bookstore has all the textbooks professors have requested for classes, is located on campus and offers cash to students who choose to sell their textbooks back to them.

“(The U Bookstore) always has the textbooks I need,” said Emily Eardley, a senior in international Studies. “At Beat the Bookstore they can have the wrong editions, but they’re good for general education texts.”

Beat the Bookstore’s stock depends on what students sell to them, so the availability can’t be guaranteed. But with 28 locations around the nation, it is possible to ship books. Beat the Bookstore offers 30-day credit for buy-backs at its stores and cash after the 30 days are up.

Online, students can find almost any textbook they may need, used or new. Websites such as Amazon typically offer lower prices, but Eardley said in her experience shipping can vary in reliability and timeliness.

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