Finding a bookstore alternative

Posted on 20 November 2013 by admin

Meramec bookstore thrives despite online textbook sources 

Staff Writer

As students are beginning to register for spring classes, the dreaded thought of buying textbooks have likely entered their minds. Textbooks can set back one’s finances a couple hundred dollars and the task for students then becomes how one can find the cheapest way of buying textbooks.

The internet has become a popular alternative to the bookstore for buying textbooks. STLCC-Meramec student Andrew Missroon said he buys his books online.

“I buy my books off Amazon and Chegg because it’s a fraction of the price as it is to buy them at the book store,” Missroon said.

According to Missroon, Amazon and Chegg can offer significantly lower prices for new textbooks compared to the bookstore, with some books priced at 99 cents. However, online sites make money from shipping. Amazon, for example, charges a flat $3.99 shipping fee on all books. Amazon profits from bulk discounts when shipping large quantities, thus enabling the online book seller to price textbooks at lower rates.

It can be difficult for campus bookstores to compete with online textbook retailers. When purchasing a book in the campus bookstore, funds are disbursed to the publisher, textbook wholesaler and administrative costs, such as building expenses, utilities, insurance and personal expenses.

Despite this price competition with online retailers, the bookstore does not seem to be facing any significant decline in sales, said Beth Reitz, book buyer for the Meramec Bookstore. There are still many benefits for buying your books at the bookstore, one of them being the security of knowing that you are getting the correct materials for class, said Reitz.

“We usually see the majority of students buying from the bookstore just because they are getting the correct material, because you always need to make sure that you have the correct edition, the correct book and all of the components that you need for class,” said Reitz

Like Amazon and Chegg, the Meramec bookstore offers rentals as well as used books, which can carry a significant discount compared to new pricing. Students can also take advantage of the buy back process, which happens the week of finals, in order to get money back on the books purchased for the semester.

Reitz suggests students plan ahead when purchasing textbooks. “Books go on sale two weeks prior to the start of classes, so make sure and come in early because used books obviously sell first,” Reitz said. “Buy used books and always try the buy back process because you’re going to get money at the end of the year. Those are the two best tips.” The Meramec book store is open daily from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Fridays.


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