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Students look to nab more books for the buck

Graphic by Rebecca Glenn
Graphic by Rebecca Glenn

Textbook prices are on the rise, making rental and used books a must.

Think you were done with school fees after you paid tuition? Reach into your wallet again, because textbooks snatch a pretty penny.

According to the U.S. Government Accountability Office, in a study conducted in 2005, college textbook prices have increased  twice the rate of inflation from 1985-2005.

This study found that textbook prices have raised an average of 6 percent each year since  the 1987-1988 academic years.

Students are feeling it, but certain measures in the past years have helped to alleviate the pain.

The  Higher Education Act was passed by Congress in 2008. Its main aim was to provide options for buyers to potentially choose a less expensive textbook.

This was a reaction to the USGAO’s study that asserted high textbook prices were due to quick and unneeded textbook revisions and bundled textbooks that professors didn’t use in the classroom.

Perhaps the most popular remedies to get a bargain on textbooks are buying used or renting textbooks through the university bookstore, Amazon or Chegg.

Debbie Haymaker, campus bookstore manager, said the bookstore’s initiative this year is to rent in order to cut down costs and to offer multiple alternatives to each book, including used and digitized copies.

“We have an initiative where we are renting almost  very book that we could possibly rent,” Haymaker said.

She said prices are set primarily through the publisher, but the bookstore has  additional pricing options.

“Whatever the publisher charges us then we have a percent of markup that we are allowed to charge based  upon our contract with the university,” Haymaker said.

Cheyenne Hunt, freshman health and exercise fitness major, said she saved nearly $100 buying her books through Amazon.

“It just depends on what Amazon has and the bookstore and the price difference,” Hunt said.

She said comparing prices is the key to saving and that’s her plan for the next three years of undergraduate.

Augustine Mendoza, a sophomore ministry and leadership major, said his general education books were priced higher than those in his major.

Mendoza said he buys his books on Amazon and from other students because of the bookstore prices.

“They’re a little high,” Mendoza said. “You could definitely find better prices on Amazon.”

Mendoza spent nearly $500 in textbooks this semester, which was higher than his freshman year.

At the end of the semester when textbooks become unneeded, Haymaker said  the bookstore offers up to half of what you paid for, depending on whether or not they can use the textbook next semester.

If they cannot use the textbook, they may not buyback at all.

“If we don’t need it for our school, then that’s when the prices are going to be less.”

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