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Buying textbooks from a local bookstore is not the only way that students are getting their required course material, but it remains a prominent option.

Bookstores remain relevant despite online options


Matt Weir/The Collegian

Buying textbooks from a local bookstore is not the only way that students are getting their required course material, but it remains a prominent option.

There are many ways that students can purchase their textbooks. Perhaps the easiest outlet is to purchase them at a bookstore. While some students still prefer this option, others have reached out to various textbook providers.

In the fall 2009, Chegg began renting textbooks out of the Kennel Bookstore. Since then, the number of students buying textbooks from the Kennel Bookstore has decreased.

“I’m not sure that Chegg is responsible for the trend,” Susan Bartel, book department manager at the Kennel Bookstore said. “Sales have been going down because enrollment has been going down. I think that Chegg is responsible for some of the decrease, but I don’t think that it’s a large portion.”

Angela Pontarolo, a communications manager for Chegg, confirmed that “more and more students are renting textbooks every year.”

Among their findings, Chegg also found an interesting trend about the gender of the majority of their customers. The trend showed that females rent more textbooks than males.

Although Chegg’s profit is increasing, many students still prefer to buy their textbooks from a bookstore. Sara Davis, a nursing major, always purchases her required text from the Kennel Bookstore.

“I rented one before, but I didn’t like it,” Davis said. “You can’t write in them and fold the pages over when you’re taking notes, and I like to do that because it helps me study.”

Some students, like criminology major Jasmyn Moxley, take a different approach to getting their textbooks. Moxley tries to get her textbooks from the cheapest seller.

Sometimes, she buys them from the Kennel Bookstore, and sometimes she rents them from Chegg. It just depends on who has the better deal.

For students who are unhappy with the bookstore prices, there are other ways to get the textbooks they need at the prices they can afford.

Jeff McClure, a business finance major, buys most of his books online at AbeBooks.com.

“I usually get international edition books,” McClure said. “They’re paperback versions of the regular text, but cost about one-third of the price. You can usually sell them back online for the same price you paid for them. And the only difference between the international edition and the regular edition is the paperback cover.”

There are a few students who have decided to buy their books in the form of e-books. A survey conducted by The Pew Research Center for the People & the Press observed that only four percent of people who said they read a book in the past day did so using an electronic or digital book.

The Pew also found that “though the public’s preferences for how they get news may be changing, the percentages that say they read a book in the past day have remained largely steady.”

No matter how students are getting their books, the point remains that the amount of material they are reading is not decreasing. As long as their amount of reading stays up, so will the demand for textbooks, and the stores they are sold in.