Students have more choices than ever when it comes to textbooks



Ed DeTomaso

Student textbook buying options, both in store and online, vary in price and features depending on where students decide to shop.

The Kent State University Bookstore is one place students can purchase their textbooks. Located in the Student Center, the University Bookstore is required to carry every book for all classes offered at Kent State.

“We believe students prefer our store because of convenience and the flexible return policy we have,” said Michael Marquardt, store director. “It’s important for students to know that we carry your book regardless of the class size.”

Another textbook-buying option is the independently owned store, Campus Book and Supply, located on South Lincoln Street.

“We tend to be five percent cheaper than the University Bookstore,” said Nicholas Schmitt, sophomore aeronautics major and store customer service representative.

According to employees, Campus Book and Supply has been busy getting ready for the fall semester.

The store also offers special-ordered textbooks and buys back books year-round with prices that fluctuate daily.

Both the University Bookstore and Campus Book and Supply offer book rentals to students.

“Book rentals continue to grow in popularity. We expect to add more titles. It’s a good and financially helpful option for students to have,” Marquardt said. “Students who rent at the University Bookstore have freedom with the books and are allowed to highlight and take notes in them.”

Campus Book and Supply rentals are limited to hardcover titles.

“Rental is a great feature for students enrolled in classes not directly connected to their major,” said Schmitt.

Rental prices are about 50 percent less than the price of a brand new book at both locations.

Buying books online is also a practical option for students — one that’s becoming even more popular. Websites such as Amazon and eBay can offer vast selection, low prices, no tax and free shipping.

“It’s not a secret that we can’t fully compete with online sales,” said Schmitt.

Online retailer sells new, used and rental textbooks. They also offer discounts up to 90 percent off retail.

“We have a pretty standard price margin. Online competitors are very competitive,” said Marquardt. “I think we just offer a better experience overall.”

Textbook formats continue to evolve, and some books are also offered completely online.

“It’s true that digital books are becoming more and more popular,” said Marquardt. “We continually promote digital books as the list of titles continues to grow.”

These options provide for an environment where students have many choices when it comes to buying books.

“For me, online prices are just lower than other stores. It comes down to money,” said Katherine Williams, freshman integrated life sciences major. “I think that’s a tough thing to overlook.”

Contact Summer Kent Stater reporter Ed DeTomaso at [email protected].