Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Students weigh their textbook options

By Valerie Edwards reporter

Students often cringe at the thought of buying costly textbooks from the campus bookstore, but those willing to search a little harder may find alternatives right on campus, at local bookstores or even just a few clicks of a mouse away.

In today’s Internet-driven society, students are turning to online resources such as Campusbooks.com or Textbooks.com for locating required books at a lesser cost. Even eBay is breaking into the online textbooks market allowing individuals to buy and sell used textbooks at Half.com.

Stephanie Miller, a South Campus student, prefers to purchase her books online. “I get all of mine on Amazon.com,” she said. “I go online because they have cheaper prices.”
An added incentive to buying books online is that shipping is minimal or free. “Amazon has a deal where if you purchase the book within a certain number of days, the shipment is free,” Miller said. “That’s a plus.”

 
Miller admits she has purchased books on campus too, but that is not the first option she tries. “If I buy at TCC, it’s only because places I go didn’t have it,” she said.
 
Jamo Hagoyi, another South student, finds buying books online to be an effortless process.

“I buy books at Amazon.com or Chegg,” Hagoyi said. “It’s really easy.” Searching for textbooks online is as simple as searching the International Standard Book Number (ISBN), book title, book author or keyword.
 
Besides the ease of online buying, Hagoyi considers it a good money-saving option that all students can benefit from.
“You can save a lot online. Usually, books are 50 percent cheaper than [TCC] if you go online,” Hagoyi said.

Numerous online stores that sell textbooks usually offer options to rent textbooks too. However, with renting online, there are additional things to consider.
 
Renting from online textbooks site, the student may have to pay for the shipping costs both ways in addition to the rental costs. Also, to ensure the book is returned in a timely manner, a due date will be automatically selected for the buyer, and the book must be shipped back before this date.

The newest addition to the online textbooks market is e-books, which allow students to view and access the text by using any device that has access to the Internet. Similar to renting books from online stores, an expiration date is assigned, but typically the date is longer than if renting a physical book. When the expiration date arrives, access to the e-book is no longer available.

Students who choose not to use online sources can have success finding various textbooks at local resale bookstores.

South student Arlesha Williams found a book she needed for an art class that was much less than the one she found at the campus bookstore. “At Half Price Books, it wascheaper,” Williams said. “I paid $12-$15 there, but it was at least $75 [at TCC].”
Another way Williams saves money is to rent textbooks from the campus bookstore.

“If it’s too expensive, I’ll rent it usually,” Williams said. “Renting is simple and easy. I rented a government book for $50 instead of buying it for $75.”