Bookstore stacks up

Katy Murray
Staff Writer

   The University of Arkansas at Monticello’s bookstore is an asset to the campuses of Monticello, Crossett and McGehee that goes to great lengths year-round to get students what they need.

   However students at all three campuses have been heard at one time or another complaining about how expensive the books are at college. Everyone must decide for themselves in the end what to do. Buy books from the bookstore or order online? Are there other options? The answer is up to you.

   The UAM bookstore provides the most convenient choice. The only drawback is standing in those long lines at the first of every semester. At least you can return your purchase for a certain amount of time afterward though (don’t forget that receipt). Another option is buying books through the Internet. A textbook search is the easiest way to begin and it's very simple to perform. All you have to do is go on Web sites such as Half, Amazon or Bookbyte. Usually you only need the name of the textbook to execute a search. If you already have the book and just want to compare prices, you can give the site the book’s 10-digit ISBN number, located right above the bar code.

   For example, a search of Amazon.com for a Mass Communications book, sold on campus for $86.95, finds the book priced at $78.43 — not much of a savings. Similar results appeared on five other Web sites. However if buying this textbook used, the price drops dramatically to as low as $5.

   All price quotes aside, you still must first decide whether or not you want to give out your credit card information, buy used instead of new books and wait for the books to be shipped.

   “Sometimes its actually cheaper to buy books here on campus because you have to pay shipping and handling if you order online. Also if it’s the wrong book for example, you have to pay again to send the book back,” bookstore manager Billy Hogue said. “UAM bookstore offers year-round buy backs at all three locations.”

   However on the technical college campuses of Crossett and McGehee, these bookstores are nonexistent, at least in the familiar way. These two colleges do not have formal bookstores like Monticello's, but they do nonetheless have the same resources.

   “They have a bookstore/cashier area,” Hogue said. “You can finalize a bill at any of UAM’s three locations.”

   The need for a bookstore at these campuses is not great at the moment as their current system provides for their needs.

   “They have such small campuses that one person does both jobs,” said Lindy Hester of the department of Finance and Administration.

   Regardless of which college you attend, students spend a serious amount of money for books every semester, and you’re probably not going to receive very much money back when you sell them. Nevertheless everyone has to buy them and it's up to you how you will do so. Come next semester, remember to be a smart shopper and do the research before you buy. It's always best to know all the information before you make a decision.

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© The Voice, 2004
Revised 20041001 — http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/2_3/books.html