Book buyers beware of expenses

Book buyers beware of expenses

by Kate Paulman

From books and parking stickers to meal plans and tuition, students are bombarded with expenses.

However, for many students, one of these expenses has been lessened. Many Simpson students have taken to using the internet to buy textbooks and have found that they can save significant amounts of money.

Western Civilization, by Marvin Perry, a required text for History 102, is available in used condition at the bookstore for $73.50. But a quick click over to, an offshoot of eBay, a student can find the same book for only $5.50, a 92 percent savings over the bookstore price. Savings like these are driving some students from the bookstore lines to internet booksellers.

Sophomore Katie Byrd said both she and her boyfriend, senior Jon Birkenholz saved an average of $30 per book by buying them online.

“My roommate told me to buy online because they were so much cheaper,” Byrd said. “I didn’t believe her until I looked online. We saved at least $350.”

Byrd said one required book was $112 in the bookstore. She found the same book for $25 at including shipping.

Web sites like allow students to buy books for a more reasonable price than the bookstore offers. It also lets students sell books to other students at a better price than the bookstore would buy them back for, which is usually anywhere from 30-70 percent of original price.

Despite some students buying books over the Internet, Cliff Ewert, vice president of public and campus relations at Follet Higher Education Group, a company that runs many college bookstores nationwide, said that overall recent bookstore sales have been up. He does not view Internet sales as a threat to campus bookstores.

“One of the advantages that [campus bookstores] have is that we are required to carry every book and the most current versions because we get current information from the faculty,” said Ewert. “Since we are required to carry every book in the shop you can get the books immediately.”

Ewert said he does not feel that Internet sales are dangerous to campus bookstores.

“Over the years the number of Internet providers has greatly diminished,” Ewert said. “Since 1999, the number of successful internet booksellers has considerably lessened.”

Ewert pointed out the advantages of the Internet site run by Follet, eFollet.

“Another convenience that [campus bookstores] offer is and our used books available there,” Ewert said. “If you don’t need the book or get the wrong one from our site, you can just go to the store and exchange it or get a refund. With other sites you have to wait for shipping and verification and you might end up with no books during class.”