Welcome Back! You’re Paying Too Much for Your Textbooks

(If You Shop at the USF Bookstore)

Tanya Dzekon
Staff Writer

Bookstore Comparison of PricesAn overwhelming majority of the textbooks at the USF Bookstore are more expensive to buy or rent than purchasing the books online, even though the USF bookstore advertises that students should “rent fearlessly” and they could “save on average 50% or more.” Foghorn reporters used Amazon.com to compare prices of the textbooks to bookstore prices.

The USF bookstore isn’t owned by USF; it is operated by Follett Higher Education Group, a division of Follett Corporation, a $2.3 billion enterprise. According to their website, Follett Higher Education Group manages more than 930 college bookstores nationwide.

Junior politics major Madeline Meininger does her research about the cheapest options available to her while shopping for textbooks, and avoids shopping at the USF Bookstore unless she needs a specific customized USF textbook.

Pricey textbooks are just one of a number of financial burdens college students encounter, and many USF students opt to buy or rent their textbooks through other online retailers to save money.

“I’m a savvy shopper,” said sophomore sociology major Kristina Rodriguez. “I’ll do a side by side price check [of USF bookstore prices versus other online retailers] and very rarely is it cheaper to rent the textbook from the bookstore.”

However, Rodriguez did acknowledge the convenience of buying books on campus, as did other students.

Senior Caroline Christ, a communication studies major said, “If I need a book for class it’s easier to go downstairs than to wait two weeks for Amazon to deliver it.”

Danielle Maingot contributed to the reporting.


One thought on “Welcome Back! You’re Paying Too Much for Your Textbooks

  1. It’s also difficult for instructors if students order their books online and they don’t arrive until two weeks into the course. Usually there are readings due immediately.

    However, I discovered this semester that books aren’t necessarily available at the USF bookstore as promised. I had checked with the textbook manager before my class started to be sure all of my texts were on the shelf for the spring semester. He assured me they were. But on the first day of class, several students told me the books weren’t available. When I checked with the bookstore, the textbook manager told me that since this store is part of a consortium of universities, if other universities want my text, they can take the books I’ve ordered for my particular classes.

    I’ve also learned that if other faculty in my program (Rhetoric and Language) are using the same text, and if the faculty member submits his/her order late, his/her books won’t be on the shelf. So his/her students then buy ones for other classes, as also could have happened in my case.

    I’m now considering if I would be better off contacting my students a couple of weeks before classes begin and suggest that they purchase the texts online. It’s a real problem for students and faculty.

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