As undergraduate students prepare for another year, many of them must confront one pricey tradition – purchasing academic textbooks.
According to the College Board, the average college student spent $1,137 on textbooks in 2011 alone. This is up from an average of $900 just three years ago. With such a large price tag placed on required texts, students have started to seek other avenues for buying books.
“I buy all of my textbooks on Amazon.com,” sophomore Michael Moore said. “It seems as though textbooks are incredibly overpriced, and sites like Amazon allow me to purchase textbooks while doing my routine online shopping.”
While students like Moore use sites such as Amazon, Chegg and Craigslist to purchase their books, not everyone feels as though this is a necessary step.
“We’ve been in business for over 100 years and have over 800 bookstores in the United States and Canada,” Gail Paveza, store director at Follett’s Miami Co-Op Bookstore, said. “We’re used to having competition.”
Although students like Moore choose to purchase their textbooks from an online retailer such as Amazon.com, Paveza said that stores like Follett’s remain ahead of the curve when it comes to book sales.
“We’ve used marketing trends to measure how students are purchasing their books – whether it be electronic copies, used books, or rentals,” Paveza said. “Using this information, we try to give students as many options as possible.”
Upon on the request of Miami University professors, used, online and electric textbooks are also available for certain classes at Dubois and Shriver bookstores.
While innovations in bookstores offer options for students, first-year Abby Burke said she feels as though her potential purchasing possibilities are not as varied as some claim they are. In her case, sites such as Amazon and Chegg were not viable options.
“A lot of my teachers didn’t post which books were needed until two days before I moved in,” Burke said. “So I didn’t really have the option to purchase from eBay or Cragslist in time. I spent $600 at the bookstore, and two weeks into the year most of my books remain unopened and unmentioned by my professors.”