Is your campus bookstore ripping you off? I don’t know about you but I’m tired off feeling ripped off by the school bookstore. I’ve decided to do some research to find out why I feel they’re ripping me off.

As I searched around the internet, I found that it’s most likely not the school bookstore ripping us students off. The blame needs to be placed at least partially on the publishers of the books. Most publishers sell the books to the bookstore at a reported cost of 75% of retail. The publishers give the bookstore a suggested retail price and most bookstores seem to stick with it. This means that the bookstore is only making a 25% profit off of he books we buy. So is the bookstore ripping us off or are the publishers?

Besides buying our books exclusively off of the internet at 25% retail cost, what other ideas might we as students propose be done to ease our book buying pains?


Diane said...

I don't think the bookstore is ripping me off. No university run department ever is. A hard cover, number of pages, and the amount of research that went into the book all contribute to the price. The article mentioned numerous costs that the publishing company has to cover.

Textbooks are not as widely distributed as novels. Almost every owns a John Grisham book or a Harry Potter book. Sales of these novels will continue for years. My 2005 Corporate Tax book will only be useful for one year. Next year authors must start again to collect new data.
In any market companies must charge prices that will cover costs and create profit.

So in conclusion, I have no suggestions as how to save money on textbooks except to buy them used over the internet.

Diane said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Bart said...

I think that the book store is scamming us as students. The scam isnt on new books but on used ones. I've sold back books to the bookstore before and only received 10 to 20 dollars for my books and then they turn around and sell them for 80 to 90 dollars. I think somthing needs to be done about that.

BOB said...

If you have ever purchased a text book on the internet, you know the book store is charging way too much. The book store is there to make money, but that does not mean students should help them. Buying and selling text books on the internet benefits everyone except the book store. Let the book store go bankrupt!

Luise said...

The bookstores would like us to think it is really the publishers who are ripping us off. Why does the bookstore need to make a 25% profit off of students? I have to say that buying books off the internet is much cheaper. For example I bought a book off the internet for 18 dollars and the bookstore was selling it for 75 dollars. You can't tell me the bookstore is only making 25% especially since the book I bought for 18 dollars was brand new.

Ace said...

Publishers are not only ripping us off in the way that is describrd in this blog, but they also come out with a new volume or edition every couple of years. This is crazy to me because nothing changes in the new edition except maybe a picture or word here and there. I have used old edition text books and have been just fine.

ron said...

I think if you really felt the bookstore or publishers were ripping you off you would choose another avenue to get your books. There are many online sites where you can obtain books for much lower prices. You can also find an older edition because rarely do new editions make drastic changes. The publishers can charge the price that they do because of market demand.

C-Dizzle said...

I never claimed to get my books from the bookstore. I've found books at fractions of the bookstore cost on the internet and wouldn't buy my books any other way. As I learned in my marketing class, many of these internet text books we get for so cheap are imported from other countries where the cost of books is often much less than here in the U.S.

This said, it doesn't change my feelings that the bookstore is ripping off students who don't know better.

Dr. Tufte said...

You know what makes books expensive: pictures, charts, mathematics, and frequent updates.

You know what students want: pictures to break up the text, charts to summarize the data, all the steps in the math spelled out, and a book with examples that are fresh in their memory.

I know that sounds callous, but go down to the bookstore and look for cheap required texts. Often they are novels - a couple hundred pages of nothing but text.

Diane raises a good point about frequent revisions too. Textbooks in slowly changing fields are a lot cheaper on average.

I'm sympathetic to Bart and Bob's comments. I've hated college bookstores a lot longer than you all have. But think about this like a manager. If college bookstores are making so much money, why aren't there private bookstores specializing in textbooks next to every campus? It turns out there are, but usually only around very large campuses, and even then there aren't many. So it simply can't be true that they are making a lot of money. They are certainly bringing in a lot of revenue, but there must be significant costs that we are overlooking.