There are plenty of demands and concerns associated with moving back to college and starting a new semester. It would be nice if acquiring textbooks weren’t one of them.
With a new semester comes new classes, and with new classes come new textbooks. As another new year at Elon University begins, students are forced to brace themselves — and their wallets — as they prepare to order textbooks.
Depending on the classes and subject, textbooks, even used ones or rentals, can cost hundreds of dollars. As such, when it comes to purchasing their required books, students naturally gravitate toward venues that promise both convenient service and reasonable pricing. Unfortunately, even with an official campus bookstore, finding a venue that offers both isn’t as easy as it sounds.
One might initially think that the university’s Barnes & Noble bookstore would be the most appropriate place to buy textbooks. Issues in the way the bookstore’s textbook service is run seriously affect the students who use it.
Still, it could hardly be considered a non-option, because its proximity to campus provides a level of convenience that other venues of textbook purchasing can’t match. It’s only a few steps from campus, and its access to course catalogs practically guarantees that it will have the necessary textbooks in stock.
But it seems that each year, more and more students are choosing to order their books online through retailers such as Chegg and Amazon, denying the bookstore a significant portion of its consumer base. While the bookstore has made strides in providing digital content through its Yuzu eTextbook service, it does not appear to have made an impact on public opinion.
Simply put, textbook prices at the bookstore are more often than not significantly higher than those offered by its competition. They’re affordable, yes, but nowhere close to the best deals available. In addition, there have been instances in the past of poor communication between the bookstore and Elon professors, which in turn can lead to problems such as too few textbooks and wrong editions.
Late orders and the university’s add/drop period only further highlight the bookstore’s major issues with flexibility and quick adjustments.
The bookstore is too unreliable and does not offer low enough prices to become the quick, cheap solution to buying textbooks students are looking for. It certainly has potential, but it cannot survive solely on the idea of university loyalty.
Hopefully, these unfavorable trends are showing the bookstore that change is necessary, and the situation could eventually improve for students who are patient enough — or who have enough years left at Elon — to wait. Until such a time, though, students are left with too many better options.