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Students explore outside price options
Each semester, students compare the bookstore’s textbook prices with various online rental sites. Though Margaret Samul, store manager of Quinnipiac’s bookstore, said she recognizes that students use other sites to find the best price, the campus bookstore has a set way of determining textbook prices.
Once professors determine the textbooks they want for their courses, the university works with the publishers to set a price, according to Samul.
“The price is set according to how the university wants it to be set,” Samul said. “They have to determine the percentage of the profit they want to make.”
Senior Bonnie Conklin said she would purchase textbooks from Quinnipiac if prices were lowered.
“Even renting books is expensive here,” Conklin said. “If they lowered their prices, they would definitely be a better competitor with other rental sites.
Sophomore Jhordane McNab said she would not mind buying textbooks from the campus bookstore if more books were available.
“If the bookstore offered a larger quantity of rental and used textbooks, I would go there more,” McNab said. “They always run out of used books and books you can rent, and no one wants to buy a brand new book.”
Samul said the bookstore tries to make as many books as possible rentable or available in used versions, but there are complications.
“When professors want custom packages, there’s generally nothing we can really do [to buy them back],” Samul said. “Sometimes there are new editions being used in a course next year, so then we can’t take those back either.”
Websites like Chegg and Amazon are two of the most popular sites for buying and renting textbooks, according to nbcnews.com. McNab said she orders the majority of her books through these online rental sites.
“Unless our bookstore’s website doesn’t give me enough information to order my books through a cheaper site, I order most of my books on Amazon or Chegg,” McNab said.
Conklin said she only buys her books through Amazon.
“I use Amazon because I have an Amazon Prime account, and their books are definitely cheaper than our bookstore,” Conklin said.
Although some students, like Conklin, strictly use online rental sites, Samul said the number of students purchasing and renting textbooks through the campus bookstore has increased.
Despite the increase in sales, McNab said there is a tactic that could raise profit even more.
“If they used a chart to compare frequently used book prices with Chegg and Amazon to show their price is better, more students would buy books from Quinnipiac,” McNab said. “A lot of sites out there are cheaper, but not for every single book.”