Students across the nation spend upwards of $655 on text books each year. With prices of textbooks on the rise, students have become more savvy at navigating the best deals. The choice; online or in-store shopping.
Since technology has changed the way we all shop, the competition between brick-and-mortar stores and online ordering has escalated. In Brockport, the best method differs greatly based on the whether or not students are looking for the most affordable or the most convenient option.
Senior Lexi Layhew, says being able to spend a little bit more to get the right text on campus that day is easiest for her. The college’s Barnes & Noble bookstore staff has always helped her find the correct books needed for every class.
“For me, it’s a lot more convenient than going through another thing [third-party seller]” Layhew said.
There have been times when the bookstore did not have what she needed. Staff members were able to place an order to get her the materials she needed right away, however, not everyone has had a positive experience at there.
Sophomore Analiese Messura, received an email before this semester started urging her to look up the required readings for each class. Messura decided to pick up what she needed during the first week of class instead of ordering online.
She was able to rent two out of her three required texts, but had trouble transferring her money over the phone and decided to place the last used textbook on hold until she was able to pay for it.
“But [they] didn’t tell me, ‘Oh, it needs to be bought by the end of the day or we put it back out,’” she said.
Thinking there was no hurry, Messura did not go back until the end of the week.
“And, of course, they were out of the books now. Then I had to special order it. And I had to special order it new because there was no more used,” she said.
Textbooks purchased by special order from the campus bookstore can take 3-5 business days to arrive.
The specific book that she placed on hold was needed for an upcoming assignment. Worried that she would not have it in time, Messura purchased the book through Amazon Prime. She received the book that weekend.
Kinesiology major Pamela Fenton says that Amazon Prime is the easiest way for her to get the textbooks that she needs.
“Renting from Amazon is just a lot cheaper, by a lot. I mean, Prime is one-day shipping anyway, so I’m getting it day of,” Fenton said.
Fenton enjoys the no-stress, one-stop shop on Amazon, delivers exactly what she needs straight to her address.
Barnes & Noble has been pairing with over 760 college campuses in effort to serve over 6 million students with the supplies they need. The company is impacted greatly by online ordering; with 90 Barnes & Noble stand-alone locations closing across the country within the last few years.
Corporate manager of the Barnes & Noble on the Brockport Campus, Sucie Pedraza has been working for Barnes & Noble for 20 years, but only began her career on campus in 2012. She said that the college’s partnership with Barnes and Noble began in 1985 and they have been attempting to change with the times since.
“Over the years, we’ve definitely seen student shopping habits change, and many
students now look for an online or omnichannel shopping experience. That’s why we
made it a priority to provide students with the ability to shop in whichever way they
prefer,” Pedraza said.
Predraza says that students have the option buy their course materials in store, online, or through their mobile app and have it shipped either to the store or their homes.
The Barnes & Noble on campus also stays competitive with online retailers, like Amazon and Chegg, by allowing students to buy supplies with financial aid and by offering students to take part in their ‘price match program’.
“This program ensures that students get the best prices available on their course materials by providing price matching on textbooks advertised or offered from local brick-and-mortar bookstores or online retailers,” Pedraza said.
When it comes to buying textbooks for college courses, the responses are divided between in-store and online shopping. While there are a variety of reasons to choose one over the other, it is up to the individual to determine whether they value affordability or convenience more. Only time will tell if in-store shopping will become obsolete.