Students look to third-party sellers and websites to curve bookstore costs

January 24, 2017

Mara Green

mgreen7@uccs.edu

     Prices on required books for classes may make students question whether or not their book costs are competing with their already daunting tuition.

     After the first week of classes, students may be scrambling to find the cheapest alternatives to their required textbooks.

     Some students decide to rent their books, others borrow from their friends and a few buy books they need in hopes to sell them at the end of the semester.

     But the UCCS bookstore may be expensive to some students who cannot swing a triple-digit cost at the beginning of each semester.

     Through the UCCS student portal option to search for textbooks available at the bookstore, the required book for ECON 2020 is listed as $185.50. On chegg.com, this book can be purchased as used for $87.99. On amazon.com, this book can be purchased used for $71.53.

     The Scribe conducted an anonymous poll including 30 UCCS students that showed that students prefer Amazon, Chegg and the UCCS Bookstore for their textbook needs.

     Out of the 30 students surveyed, 43 percent prefer the UCCS bookstore to online, but many students take advantage of online resources available to find their books for cheaper prices.

     Results show that 71 percent of these students ordered their textbooks from Amazon. Students said that books are cheaper, whether they order them as new, used or rentals. Students can also sign up for Amazon Prime, which allows students free two-day shipping.

     One student who shopped at Amazon and Chegg took advantage of Facebook groups distributing information on UCCS usedtextbooks.

     They said that both Amazon and Chegg offer discounts, benefits and free shipping, which help students with their already tight budgets.

     The timespan to return online rentals falls from a few weeks to a month past the semester, but students should keep an eye out for how long it takes to ship books back to their supplier or they may be overcharged for a late return.

     The final survey question concerned why students chose these online alternatives versus the UCCS bookstore.

     A deciding factor was the affordability and accessibility that online, third parties provide. Not all shops can provide books within a few weeks before the beginning of the semester.

     But students should be aware of the processing time if they purchase textbooks a day before classes start. While there are pros to ordering online, there are also cons to look out for.

     Research is the most important part of buying anything online. It’s important to know who you are buying from and to remember that stock photos exist for used items and are not always true to the actual product.

     When using Amazon, you’ll purchase books from a third-party seller that buys used books and sells them for cheaper prices. If you are buying from a site like Ebay, ask the seller for photos.

     It is always best to know how gentle your online supplier has been with their textbook in case you are receiving a grimy book with illegible scrawl from Lord Voldemort in the margin.

     Some students prefer buying new textbooks for reasons like this so you can freely mark the book up as much as you want.

     With the increase in UCCS undergraduate students, it’s understandable that the UCCS bookstore may fall short on student’s ability to buy new or used textbooks at short notice, so borrowing books from friends and taking quick pictures of the chapter you need to read can save you time and money.

     Everyone would love to say that they are able to buy their textbooks cheaper with these online alternatives, but that is simply not the case.

     Unless you can look past torn covers and a few missing pages, look out for what you’re investing in.