Being bookstore savvy

by Beacon Staff • February 15, 2006

The bill, proposed by Representative Steven M. Walsh (D-Lynn), would help cut the cost of textbooks by requiring companies to provide professors with more information and options when choosing books.,After a year stuck in legislative limbo, House Bill 1262 made it to a public hearing.

The bill, proposed by Representative Steven M. Walsh (D-Lynn), would help cut the cost of textbooks by requiring companies to provide professors with more information and options when choosing books.

The proposal calls for book companies to-among other things-provide teachers with a list of differences between editions while allowing students to choose to buy books without supplementary materials.

Bookstores could then stock more used textbooks and sell them without costly extras.

Rep. Walsh, thank you for thinking of us lowly college students and proposing a bill that would make life a little better for us.

But this move makes me wonder: Who is still going to the bookstore for their books?

Have we forgotten the Internet, where anything can be found cheap?

This semester, I needed to get 10 books for my Holocaust Literature class.

Getting all 10 through the Emerson College bookstore would have cost $126.75, based on prices for used editions listed on the eFollett.com Web site. Using Half.com, I got my books (most in "new" or "like new" condition) for $104.55. That price included shipping, which saved me from having to carry home a stack of books.

Ordering your books online does call for a little research to find out what exactly you'll need.

It will require you to either enter your course codes into the Emerson bookstore's Web site or e-mail your professors asking for book lists.

Dealing with the bookstore at the end of the semester doesn't seem to be any better.

Every semester, classmates moan about getting offered $5 at the bookstore for a book they bought for $65.

Then the same book shows up among the store's used books for $40. Five dollars may be better than nothing, but with the Internet you can resell your book for as much as you bought it. And, if you decide you want to keep some, you can rest assured that you got a bargain. Congratulations, smart consumer!

Comrades, we must learn to exploit the capitalist machine just as it exploits our working-class brothers.

Or, you know, not pay anymore than we have to for textbooks. While the proposed legislation that would cut textbook costs is appreciated, it should be unnecessary.

Comparative shopping and common sense should have reminded bookstores that students have other options when it comes to buying the necessary academic goods.