Summer vacation is over, and it is time to whip out those pocketbooks once again for classroom expenses.
According to an estimate by The College Board, a national nonprofit organization that connects students with higher education, students spend an average of $1,200 a year on textbook and course materials alone. Moreover, this price is increasing at a faster rate than tuition, according to a December 2012 report from the libertarian think tank American Enterprise Institute, leaving students wondering how to save money on required books.
One solution the Sun Devil Campus Store offers is allowing students to rent or buy used books for a lower price.
Haileigh Morgan, a spokeswoman for book distributor Follet, said used books can be purchased at around 25 percent of the original price, and rented textbooks saves students an average of 50 percent or more.
“We are committed to maximizing student access to materials with a wide variety of affordable options,” she said.
Parks and recreation management senior Corey Kunes said even with cheaper options out there, many students still prefer to do their textbook shopping at ASU’s bookstore, because it’s closer.
“I try not to buy books if I don’t need them,” Kunes said. “I go to the classes, feel them out, and if I need them, I get them from the bookstore, because it’s just right there.”
A direct relationship with faculty allows the Sun Devil Campus Store to make sure students have the right book, and students have the convenience of refunds and exchanges in case they add or drop classes, Morgan said.
Although most students are still loyal to the campus bookstore for its convenience and proximity, many are beginning to explore other means to save money on course materials.
Anthropology sophomore Sydnie James said she often browses online to find ways to save money on textbooks.
“I first look to find people selling used books on the Internet,” she said. “That’s where I find the cheapest deals. I also use Amazon, because I can save a lot of money that way.”
Amazon Students features many college deals for students seeking a cheaper option in obtaining textbooks and course materials, creating huge competition for the ASU Bookstore.
Ripley MacDonald, Amazon director of textbooks, said students can save up to 70 percent on textbook rentals and up to 40 percent on new textbooks. Amazon also features free two-day shipping on millions of items, including college textbooks when they join Amazon Student.
Amazon Student aims to offer many textbooks at affordable prices and in a variety of formats. Students can rent Kindle eTextbooks for flexible lengths of time, which lowers prices, MacDonald said.
“We think it’s great to give students choice,” MacDonald said. “They can check out all their options and then decide what’s best for them.”
Whether it’s buying or renting, print or digital, Amazon Student tries to make it fast and affordable for students to get their textbooks from Amazon, MacDonald said.
The Sun Devil Campus Store also strives to provide the best service for students, Morgan said.
“Despite the presence of competitors, ASU students continue to choose the on-campus bookstores,” Morgan said.
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