CSU Bookstore works on making textbooks more affordable

Yixuan Xie

While the textbook pricing consistently increases, the Colorado State University Bookstore makes efforts to save students’ money.

Textbooks including political science and law are on display at the bookstore.
Political science and law textbooks are showcased inside of the bookstore. (Brandon Mendoza | Collegian)

It is expected that the savings to students this semester will exceed $2,500,000 through all different options of textbooks provided, according to John Parry, director of the CSU bookstore.

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These options include used books, electronic books, alternate formatted books, rental books and lower priced books, which are not commonly offered at a college bookstore.

In a Letter to the Editor published by the Collegian Sept. 1, Parry talked about how buyback at CSU, one of the most successful buyback programs in the nation, contributes to saving students varying amounts as well.

“Buyback process generally run 20 percent-50 percent of the new book price, depending on whether the books are used again at CSU in the upcoming semester,” Parry wrote in an email to the Collegian. “So, if a student bought a book that retails new for $100 at a used price of $75, and if the book is used again for the next semester, we generally would buy the book back for $50.  In this case, the student saved 67 percent of what they originally paid.”

Trying hard to be price comparative with other online websites for textbooks, bookstore even has a price comparison tool on its site, mentioned by Parry, in order to compare their prices to Amazon, Alibirs and VitalSource, Parry wrote in his Letter to the Editor.

The CSU Bookstore can also deliver textbooks directly to a a student’s Canvas account. According to Parry, 8,792 books were delivered electronically to students for fall 2017.

Students who used this service saved more because the electronic books cost less than print versions whether it is for new books or used books according to Parry’s Letter to the Editor. Students also receive free access to these materials for two weeks and could decide if they want to keep them.

In addition to the buyback program, Parry also mentioned situations which are worse, but still benefit students to a greater or lesser extent.  

“If a student had to buy the book new for $100 because there were not any used books available, and if the book is not used again at CSU, they may only get $20 (maybe a bit more, maybe even less) and thus save 20 percent of their purchase through buyback,” Parry wrote.

Peyton Palermo, an undeclared freshman, said she appreciates the buyback program.

“I like it, because I can return them at the end of the year if I don’t ruin them,” Palermo said. “It’s also great for me to just walk to the bookstore (to get textbooks) instead of getting them online.”

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According to Parry, another way for students to save money is by purchasing “packets” instructors have made for a class. A packet is printed materials written by several professors for CSU students.

“These have been used for years,” Parry wrote. “If the materials are not copyrighted, then they are generally pretty inexpensive. But if they have copyrighted materials in the packets, then the price can be somewhat high.”

Zachary Nitterhouse, a political science senior, said textbook prices at the CSU Bookstore are too high for students to afford.

“I feel bookstore is a bit of a waste in general because it is so expensive, and I won’t buy books there,” Nitterhouse said. “I will borrow or get books on Amazon or something.”

“We try every effort to find lower prices alternatives for all books,” Parry wrote in his email.

Collegian reporter Yixuan Xie can be reached at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @YixuanXie1.