More options for students buying books


Coty Giannelli

A group of students and parents search for textbooks they’ll need for the fall semester at the Campus Bookstore, located in the Student Center. The bookstore offers other supplies students may need and is a certified Apple computer store. Photo by Coty Giannelli.

Mary Kate Garvey

Students have so many options when it comes to purchasing textbooks, it’s hard to decide where to start. Students can buy from bookstores or online — they can rent, buy new, used or electronic copies.

Samantha Wolfe, a graduate student in the College of Public Health, thought back to her freshman year at the University of Akron. Her advice to freshmen was to not buy books far in advance from the start of class.

“At my orientation in June, I went and bought all of my books,” she said. “I spent like $600 and totally didn’t realize that one, I didn’t even need half of those books, and two, I could have gotten them much, much cheaper.”

She also recommended waiting until the first day of class to buy books. That way the professor will tell you whether or not you need to purchase the book.

Brittany Deighton, senior visual communications design major, hasn’t spent much money on books. Frequently dealing with graphic design, she spends the most money on computer programs, such as Adobe, and printing at Kinko’s.

“I think Kinko’s is familiar with every VCD student,” Deighton said.

Computer programs can be even more expensive. Deighton said the bookstore stocks most programs, and you can usually get a student discount. However, when she needs a new program, she usually goes online to the actual software site. She said it’s easier for her to go online and just download it to her computer.

The convenience of online buying is changing the way bookstores look at their businesses.

“We want to give [students] as many options as we can, not only so they can save money but so they can get the option that’s right for them,” University Bookstore manager Susan Aylward said.

A student can purchase or rent new and used textbooks from the store. If students are worried about purchasing their books, they can also go online and pre-order. Students have the option to have the books sent to them with a small shipping fee, or the bookstore will hold them until they can be picked up.

The University Bookstore, located in the Student Center, also offers various online book options.

Aylward said CafeScribe is almost set up like Facebook. The professor can hold a study group and students can share notes or highlighted points in the chapter.

The newest option for online books is Inkling. The program has more interaction and gives the students more ability for interaction with diagrams.

She said it could be used on multiple devices — all you need is the application. If a professor wanted to refer only to a few chapters, Inkling also gives the option to create a custom online book with those few chapters, potentially decreasing cost.

Dean Kline, owner of Campus Book & Supply located on South Lincoln Street, is trying to compete with students buying online. In order to do that, he said he needed to buy cheaper.

Kline said he tries to stock new books and as many used books as he can. To keep his stock of used books high, he bought books back from students, purchased from national wholesalers and has bought online.

He said that if a student needed to return a book, it’s much easier to return to a store than to return online. Students can also look online at what books they have in stock.

Online buying has become more popular with students. One option is Chegg, where a student can rent or buy new and used. The Chegg website also states that students can sell textbooks. When students return their rented books at the end of the semester, they cover the shipping costs.

Other options for online buying are Amazon, and FindersCheapers. Finderscheapers is a search engine that helps you compare prices from numerous different stores and sites.

Contact Mary Kate Garvey at [email protected].