Seth Ashton goes price-hunting for the least expensive textbooks
at the beginning of the semester.
Although Ashton said he only has four classes this semester, he
said his books will probably cost around $500.
Ashton, a junior economics major, said he is trying to decrease
his expensive estimated tab for this semester by going to all of
the bookstores in Fort Collins and finding out which store offers
the cheapest books.
“They’re mostly the same price, but it varies depending on the
place,” said Ashton, who has price-hunted in past semesters.
Ashton is not alone in his attempt to make the necessary task of
book shopping as inexpensive as possible.
While many students go to off-campus competitors and Internet
sites to buy their textbooks, the majority of CSU students stick
with the University Bookstore on campus despite the slightly higher
prices, said John Parry, director of the University Bookstore.
“It really boils down to what your time and energy is worth,”
The lower prices offered at other bookstores are not worth the
inconvenience because not that much money will be saved, Parry
“The pricing philosophy that we have is similar to our two
off-campus competitors,” Parry said.
Dave Dyer, manager for the off-campus bookstore Big Dog
Textbooks, said students on average will save money if they don’t
buy their books at the University Bookstore.
“There’s an industry-standard mark-up and we just drop it off a
few percentage points,” he said.
Parry said the one of the biggest advantages of shopping at the
on-campus bookstore is the large selection offered to customers,
including all books for every course offered on campus and the
highly active buyback system.
A third of the books sold by the University Bookstore are used,
Parry said. Some of the bookstore’s revenue is donated to student
programs in the Lory Student Center.
Dyer said students can get a discount card at Big Dog that saves
customers $10 whenever their purchase is over $200.
Buyback is key to having more used textbooks because not only
does it provide students with cheaper textbooks but also it is
cheaper for the University Bookstore.
Buyback is made possible through professors and instructors
turning in the required information, such as what books they need
and how many students they anticipate taking the class, as soon as
“The sooner we have that information, the sooner we can look for
used books,” Parry said.
Parry encouraged students to persuade their instructors to
supply the bookstore with textbook information as early as
“Student can have influence by asking their professor especially
as you get closer to buyback,” Parry said.