Books without breaking the bank

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Students may be cracking the spine on new textbooks, but that doesn’t have to mean breaking their backs to pay for them.

Becky Schwartz, a secondary education English and history double major, normally budgets $550 each semester for textbooks and has never had to go over that amount. She claims it is due to her shopping skills at the campus bookstore as well as online booksellers such as Amazon and Half.com.

“Prices are prices and I realize bookstores have to make money.”

Swartz is one of the many students this year who usually purchase between 15 and 17 textbooks for the Fall semester.

As a prospective teacher, Swartz realizes that many of the books that she will purchase in the last few years of completing her undergraduate degree can be used later in her academic career.

“I keep them because they will benefit me later. For example, I could use them for example texts for my students,” she said.

“I think there is more value in books than for a class,” said senior English major Chris Applin.

While Applin perfers online booksellers, he realizes the confidence a campus bookstore has for incoming freshmen.

Katie McConnachie, a freshman accounting major, has paid more than $700 for textbooks. Although looking at online booksellers, she preferred the handiness of the campus bookstore.

“I bought all my book from the bookstore on campus ,” McConnachie said. “I looked at renting, but it seemed like you would save more by buying and selling.”

The campus bookstore has texts for more than 200 classes and dozens of majors such as English and mechanical engineering.

In recent years the campus bookstore has offered textbook renting for students at a lower price than buying.

For the fall semester, Barnes and Noble now offers more than 40 percent of their titles to rent.

“We have the books, so let’s rent them out,” said Chris Pawloski, store manager.

New to the 2010-2011 school year, students can now choose to digitally rent their books rather than buying an e-book.

“E-books last about 180 days,” Pawloski said. “It is helpful for students who only need the textbook for a short time.”

Yet, with the popularity of e-books and e-readers such as the Nook, Barnes and Noble is introducing Nook study. A starter program can be downloaded for free at the Nook Study website. Depending on your classes, the format could be cheaper than renting.

Many students are now turning to the Nook. Though their ads claim access to “hundreds” of titles, there are more than 120,000 new additions and titles published annually. Nooks range in price from $149 to $199, even with recent price drops from sellers such as Barnes and Noble. The Nook with Wi-Fi runs $149 while the Nook 3G Color typically costs $199. However, e-books cost from $3-15 compared to the average $48 SVSU bookstore text book.
The Barnes & Noble campus store has expanded to more modern ways to support students.

“Barnes & Noble knows there is competition,” Pawloski said, “but we still want to give students options.”

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