Students compare textbook prices, find alternatives to campus bookstore


Ryan Fischer

Jacob Thomas Howell, an employee, assists another student at the campus bookstore, January 19, 2016.

It is no secret buying books for the new semester can be a pricey endeavor. Books can either stay below $100 or exceed $500, but no matter the cost, students see opportunities to save time and money in different ways when it comes to buying books.

Management and marketing major Amanda Nelson said she usually goes to the Marshall University Bookstore to buy her books first. From there, Nelson said she will compare bookstore prices to prices for more expensive books. Nelson said Amazon usually has books for a lower price

Nelson said her books cost approximately $500 this semester.

“It was ridiculously expensive,” Nelson said. “I think [prices are] incredibly high. Some of them are reasonable, but most of them are just ridiculous.”

Nelson said she chooses Amazon over the bookstore because of prices.

“The bookstore is really convenient because I can just pick them up here and don’t have to lug them to school and everything, but Amazon is a lot cheaper,” Nelson said.

For other students, the campus bookstore is the top choice for buying books.

Communications major Larry McCarty said he will look multiple places before buying books, including campus bookstore rentals and Amazon, but McCarty said most of the time he will get his books from the bookstore because it is the easiest. 

“I’m going to say that three out of my four books are probably from the bookstore,” McCarty said.

McCarty said he gets campus rentals quickly and he will choose campus rentals and Amazon because they have better prices.

Computer science major and graduate student, Srithika Murugesan said she bought her books from Amazon this semester. Murugesan said this is her first time living in the United States and also the first time buying from Amazon.

“This is my first time I’m living in the U.S. and my home country is India and the books we purchase, we directly go to the bookstore and we purchase that, or we get used books, which is like a weekend bargain a lot and we get it,” Murugesan said. “I got a lot of suggestions before purchasing from Amazon.”

Murugesan said she got the best price for used books on Amazon, but the prices were very similar to the bookstore. Murugesan said she chose Amazon over the bookstore mostly for the length of time she could keep a rented book.

Biology major Kelsey Mathis said she prefers to rent her textbooks on, where she said her books are “significantly cheaper” than the bookstore.

“And Chegg sends you free samples of things, which is neat,” Mathis said. “And their late fee is only like $2 and I’m very forgetful, so that’s cool.”

When students do order their books from places like Amazon or Chegg, they do not tend to worry about shipping dates and if they will fall behind in their classwork while waiting for books to ship.

McCarty said he usually orders his books early and when he orders books he doesn’t worry about them being shipped late most of the time.

McCarty said he was currently waiting for books to arrive of his interview, but said that his classes weren’t using the books yet and said he was not really falling behind in class. McCarty however said it is possible you could fall behind while waiting for a book to ship, though.

Mathis said she does not worry about waiting for her books to ship and that Chegg usually ships them in time.

Murugesan, on the other hand, said being a computer science major she is required to study computer languages like Java, so she definitely needs her books.

Amanda Gibson can be contacted at [email protected].