Students find alternatives to buying textbooks
Published: Tuesday, August 28, 2012
Updated: Friday, May 17, 2013 13:05
Students now have more options when it comes to the sometimes stressful process of buying books for class.
The Follet Higher Education group, which manages the UTEP bookstore is offering different alternatives such as the “rent a text” program, used books or digital books.
“The good thing about buying through the bookstore is that if you have a problem you just come directly to us, compared to having to wait on the phone or waiting for your books,” said Frank Morga, assistant store director. “Compared to ordering online, if you are on financial aid you can swipe your gold card and use it here, but you can’t do that online.”
According to Follet, students can save 40 to 60 percent off the price of a new textbook using CafeScribe, a digital textbook platform.
CafeScribe users can read and study on Macs, PCs and most web-enabled devices like tablets and smart phones, anywhere and anytime.
A new digital option is Inkling digital textbooks, available at efollet.com, which include upgraded features such as videos, animation and music. They will also feature a program called “pick 3” which will allow students to purchase three chapters of a textbook for a fraction of the price of the full textbook.
Adrian Chavez, senior psychology major, said he likes the convenience of ebooks.
“I’ve used an ebook before and the thing I liked most about it was the fact that it was very accessible,” he said. “If you have a class on Monday Wednesday and Friday, but you have to do your homework on Tuesdays and Thursdays, you don’t have to carry that extra book around. I also think they’re helpful for those who can’t afford the actual book, though it can encourage you to be a little lazy to not bring books to class.”
Xena Quintana, junior mathematics major, sees the pros and cons to having an ebook rather than a regular textbook.
“I have never bought digital textbooks,” Quintana said. “Personally I don’t think I would like digital books because looking at a screen can get tiresome for my eyes, especially since I work on the computer at least six hours a day at work. However, I can see the benefit of buying digital books; such as not having to lug around heavy textbooks. It also saves space to go digital and they are usually cheaper.”
According to the UTEP bookstore, the campus has the largest used textbook selection in the industry, resulting in huge savings for students when they sell their books back.
Another popular feature at the bookstore is “rent a text” which allows students to highlight and mark in their textbooks as they normally would and still be able to return them to the bookstore by the end of the semester at 50 percent or more off the regular price.
“I have rented a textbook once from the university bookstore,” said Quintana. “It was fast and saved me $60. I guess convenience is the best thing about buying from the bookstore. It’s close and they have all of the books that you would need usually.”
Some students believe that renting textbooks can take off some of the pressure that comes with the uncertainty of ordering online.
“I used to buy them but I started to realize that renting them is better because you don’t have to worry about the hassle of reselling them or having them turn out to be the wrong edition,” said Haydee De Aquino, sophomore pre-occupational therapy major. “In my opinion I don’t like digital form and I can’t see myself learning that way; there is something about a real book that you can’t get from a digital. I guess I’m just old school.”
According to Follet, they are continuing to search for new ways to lower course material costs for students. A pilot program they are currently implementing at several top universities is the incluED program, which will allow schools to provide required course materials to students as part of tuition or fees. Though this program has not reached UTEP yet, if it is successful, it may someday be available to all universities under Follet’s management.
Rebecca Guerrero may be reached at email@example.com.