The beginning of the semester is a stressful time for students trying to make sure they are in the correct courses and on their way to graduate. One problem that adds to the stresses of school is the expense of required textbooks.
With textbook requirements for some classes being over $100, students are not only becoming increasingly frustrated with waiting in the long lines at the bookstore, but the price of books at the bookstore as well. Students have turned away from the bookstore to avoid high fees and unavailability of the books they search for.
Emily Hunt, a communications major at SF State, says she has never bought from the bookstore because she feels like it is a waste of time to stand in line.
“It’s mostly the inconvenience part,” said Hunt. “Where I can just click a couple buttons on Amazon or Chegg and it’s also cheaper.”
While many students would rather order their books from the comfort of their own home, many students also choose these routes
because they do not have hundreds of dollars to be splurging on books for their classes.
“This semester I went to buy two textbooks and they were each nearly 100 dollars at the bookstore, but I was able to get them on Amazon for around 30 dollars which saves me a lot,” said Mason Farrell, an SF State international relations student.
Not only are students becoming frustrated with bookstore inconveniences, but professors are as well. Rene Juarez-Vazquez, a College of Ethnic Studies lecturer, constantly has issues ordering books for his literature classes. This issue affects his ability to teach a fast-paced class and both
inconveniences and frustrates his students.
Juarez-Vazquez explains that although he requests for the bookstore to have adequate books for his students each semester, his requests aren’t always matched. He also describes inconsistencies with how the bookstore stocks different types of books.
“The bookstore has constantly under-ordered books on my list,” said Juarez-Vazquez. “This has been an issue semester to semester and while enrollment varies from class to class, I see a stack of the expensive books, while the smaller cheaper books tend to be smaller, if not nonexistent.”
Not only has there been a lack of books provided in the bookstore, but Juarez-Vazquez explains that a lot of the books he needs for his classes aren’t available on Amazon, making it much harder on the students.
While there are some pricing and stock issues at the bookstore, Cameron Casey, SF State bookstore manager, offers reasons for
this as well as ways to help.
Casey explains that when ordering textbooks to stock the bookstore, the bookstore must look at the past sales to see how many books they need to order. If it has been requested that there be 30 books for a class of 30 in the past, but only 5 or 6 books were sold, the bookstore does not request for 30 to be stocked in the upcoming semester of the same class. He adds that it would be a significant expense if the bookstore ordered
30 books knowing only 5 or 6 books will actually sell.
While class enrollment numbers can fluctuate each semester, Casey expresses that the bookstore has to have a process in order for them to not lose money just as students are trying to save money.
According to Casey, the bookstore offers ways for students to order from the bookstore online.
Students can go onto the SF State bookstore website and shop for their books by course. After adding the book to their cart they have the choice of delivering it to their home or the bookstore for pick-up.
Additionally, the bookstore works with digital textbook service BryteWave to supply digital textbooks. Buying a textbook as an online book instead of a hard copy is significantly cheaper for students.
SF State and the bookstore are working to find more ways for students to save money on the cost of books and to make the experience of buying them easier.