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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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Students Find Bargains for Books

The start of the college semester brings crowds of students to the university bookstore, rushing to get all of their course materials in time for class. While many students settle with the prices and policies of the school bookstore, others explore cheaper alternatives.

According to a survey conducted by the National Association of College Stores (NACS), colleges all over the country try to save students money through buyback policies, price matching, and textbook rentals. At Stony Brook University, however, students have found their own ways of saving money on textbooks.

Kevin White, an engineering science major, gets most of his books online, and says that ‘amazon saved me lots of money’. Amazon.com offers new and used books, and claims to help buyers ‘save up to 90% off millions of used listings’.

Students who use Amazon.com, however, should buy their books well before the start of the semester to allow time for shipping.

Aisha Ahmad, a health science major, also uses Amazon.com for her book hunting, ‘I think I spent around $200 [last semester] but since their [the books are] used, you get that money back’. The site lets users look for books through a search engine and sell them back later, using only a book title or ISBN.

The Stony Brook University bookstore implements a buyback policy at the end of each semester, offering students up to 50% percent of the cost of each book. The bookstore will give Barnes and Noble giftcards away during Bingo for Books, on August 31, the first day of classes.

Mukid Khan, a respiratory care major, also spends about $200 on books a semester, but does not have the same luck with buybacks as Aisha does. ‘I’m not that successful selling them [books] back. Either the edition I have is not used anymore, or I get beans for them’.’

At Stony Brook, where a majority of the students are math or science majors, each year brings a new, up to date version of textbooks. Some professors require the newest edition for their courses, but other classes allow older editions.’

Keri Smith uses another alternative to the university bookstore and Amazon.com, ‘I buy my books at Stony Books,’ she said.

‘I’m majoring in math, so if I don’t keep the books I sell them back to Stony Books but definitely nowhere near what I paid for them’.’

Stony Books Inc., which buys back text books all year round, has also started a book rental service. Students can pay $5 a day to rent a book, but must put down ‘a deposit of the full price of the rented book,’ according to the Stony Books website. ‘Upon return of the rented book the deposit will be refunded minus the difference of the rental fee.’

Not all books are available for rental, but this service does present another alternative to buying textbooks.’

Using online textbooks, or Ebooks, is another less advertised method of getting school materials online. Certain titles are available for download or limited viewing, and can help students avoid the clutter of bulky textbooks and course readers.

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