Taylor Corley, Campus Carrier Arts & Living Editor
As summer comes to an end and a new school semester rolls around, the time of year that students’ bank accounts dread is here: the time to buy textbooks. At Berry College, students can obtain the materials they need for class while still saving money by renting or purchasing a used textbook from the Berry College Bookstore. Additionally, students can take a trendier route and join a Facebook group where peers sell old books at a discounted price.
If you choose to get your textbooks from the Berry College Bookstore, there are four available options. Students are able to buy or rent a new textbook, buy or rent a used textbook or buy or rent a digital textbook, but this option is only available for certain books. Finally students may also purchase the Cengage unlimited package which would allow the purchaser access to all the online textbooks Cengage offers for one price.
Jan Pearson, bookstore manager, recommends that students purchase the Cengage Unlimited package, which gives the buyer access to all of the digital textbooks Cengage offers, if they have two or more digital textbooks. Otherwise, it would be more cost-effective to purchase just one individual online textbook.
Most students who obtain their books from the campus bookstore either rent or buy them. Not all books are available as rentals, but if they are, students can save up to 80% by renting a used book rather than a new book. The same can be said for buying a used book versus a new book.
Students who rent books will pay a lower price up front and will not receive any money back when the books are returned. However, if a student chooses to buy their books, they pay a higher price upfront but are allowed to sell their books back to the store at the end of the semester.
There are a few risks when it comes to buying a book and attempting to sell it back. The bookstore will only buy back a textbook if it is still the most recent version at the end of the semester and if the professor has decided to use the book again in upcoming semesters. This is a gamble the student must be willing to take if they choose to purchase a book rather than rent one. It is also possible that the buyback price will not be as high as the price originally paid for it.
“The bookstore will not buy back loose-leaf textbooks or digital access codes either,” Pearson said.
Students may also price match their textbooks whether they choose to rent or to buy. Textbook purchases can be made online through the Berry bookstore, but a price match can only be requested in person.
According to the bookstore’s website, prices are only matched against resellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chegg or other local campus competitors, such as the Shorter University bookstore. If the student is attempting to price match a rental price, the rental period must be the same as the Berry bookstore’s. The lower-priced item must have the same ISBN, or International Standard Book Number, and the editions must match as well. If the book offered by the campus bookstore includes any extra CDs, online access codes, or student manuals, the lower priced item must include them as well.
“Students must show us the lower priced item on their phone in real time in order for us to do a price match,” Pearson said. “The item cannot be on sale either.”
Although the Berry Bookstore cannot do a price match from peer-to-peer marketplaces, another option that is available is to join the Berry Facebook group “Berry College Book E x c h a n g e ” where students can sell their old textbooks to other Berry college students for a reasonable price.
A c c o r d ing to student responses to the Campus Carrier Instagram, many students choose to rent their books from Amazon. Renting a book from Amazon is similar to renting a book from the Berry bookstore: you will pay a lower price to obtain the book, but will not be reimbursed when it is returned. Still, you can highlight and underline in the books as normal. Just be sure to return any books on time to avoid being charged a late fee.
To be sure they are getting the best deals possible, a few students recommended using websites such as bigwords.com or bookfinder.com to check where the cheapest place is to purchase a certain textbook as well as compare the prices of surrounding sellers.
“They tell you the lowest priced places to buy books both new and used,” junior Madison Rose said of BookFinder.com.
To find more information, check out the Berry bookstore’s website for a list of price matching rules and more tips on purchasing textbooks.