While the Borders chain of bookstores closed its doors this year, the Miami University Bookstore saw a record number of textbook sales and rentals this year.
Last year, there were 2,300 textbooks purchased at the Miami University Bookstore during the first weeks of the fall semester. This year, that number jumped to 4,355. Another 450 textbooks were rented last fall, a number that increased to 4,890 this year.
Sarah Thacker, the store’s Book Manager, said the increase in students purchasing books from the bookstore is linked to the store’s connection with the Nebraska Book Company.
“There are more titles available [this year],” Thacker said. “We had 21 available last year, but this year we have about 650 to 700 titles available. Students can rent their books and are offered a rebate so we can send the books back at the end of the year.”
The bookstore even experienced an increase in sales despite competition from online companies.
“The bookstore does not try to compete with such large online companies because it is like competing with a yard sale, where an expensive book is offered at an extremely reduced rate,” Thacker said.
Sophomore Christina Berardi said, “I always enjoy my experience at the Miami Bookstore, but it probably would have been cheaper to order [books] through Amazon.”
Thacker reconciles this tough price competition with the record number of books sold this year through the number of used and rentable textbooks available and the on-campus convenience of the bookstore. Shopping in person at the bookstore means students and faculty can see first-hand the condition used books are in before buying or renting them.
Miami University Bookstore’s buyback rate for textbooks is higher than other bookstores, too, despite similar sales prices. Students can buy a book used but return it to the bookstore at the end of the year and earn 50 percent of the cost of a new book.
“An average new textbook is probably $100. You can buy it used for $70 or $75, or rent it for $50. If you buy it used, you can get 50 percent of the new book price if you return it,” Thacker said.
“I purchased my books through a different source this year, but I would definitely take advantage of Miami’s buyback deal in the future,” first-year Alex Brinkman said.
Aside from an increase in book purchases, the increase in textbooks rented has prompted the bookstore to implement different marketing techniques to create incentives for students to return books at the end of the year. There are yellow stickers on each book that act as a reminder to students, but Thacker said students often remove or lose these stickers. To combat this, there will be three different stations on campus where students can return books, as well as promotions with give aways.