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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    One Constant in Troubled Economic Times, the Need for Textbooks

    Students and parents alike are struggling to deal with the current economic situation, but no matter how bad it gets, they still need textbooks for class.

    Many have found that the campus bookstore — compared to online outlets such as — is pricey.

    According to Angela Agnello, the director of Marketing and Communications for the Faculty Student Association, although the books are expensive, there is reason for them to be. The author of the book is paid royalties from the publisher who owns the copyright. The publisher receives payment when the book is printed and even when excerpts are cited. There are also printing, shipping and labor costs, according to Agnello. “The store that sells the textbook needs to float the cost of getting textbooks in stock, pay its employees, pay shipping and penalty fees to ship unsold books back to the publisher, and absorb the cost of any books that are lost, stolen, or damaged in the store,” Agnello said.

    The bookstore is weathering the economic storm.

    Even with the troubled economy there has been an increase in customers. “The reason for this increase appears to be directly related to a concerted effort made by FSA, the Provost’s Office, and the University Bookstore over the last 15 years to reduce the price of textbooks by increasing the used textbook market on campus,” Agnello said.

    Senior Ayesha Fahmin’s first place to go is not the campus bookstore. “It’s too expensive, the prices are just insane,” she said. “I would say the school just wants more money off of its students the way the books are priced so I buy used books off of” She isn’t the only student who feels this way. Junior Harumi Ushiroga and senior Fahmida Sheuly both prefer other means to get their books. “I think the bookstore is just a rip off,” said Ushiroga. “The publishers keep making new editions of books, which means we are forced to buy new ones instead of just getting a used book.”

    Sheuly said, “I think students buy their books at the campus store if they are uninformed about where to buy it cheaper or if they are really desperate. This semester I bought a book there only because I was too busy to go off campus.”

    When asked about what other resources they use to get their materials, they had many suggestions for other students.

    “You could go to, Stony Books, and I use Facebook Marketplace as well when I need to buy or sell my books to other students,” said Ushiroga. “I usually use and that works out really well,” Sheuly said.

    A product that’s a coming-of-age device is the Kindle from, a handheld device used to read electronic books. It’s still in its beginning stages and “hasn’t made significant inroads into the college market,” Agnello said.

    Another problem with the Kindle is that there are still plenty of students who want textbooks in their hands. “It’s just not the same,” said Fahmin. Sheuly and Ushiroga were open to the idea, but didn’t know enough about the product. “I just bought a two pound laptop so I can just download books onto my computer if I wanted to,” Sheuly said.

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