Rams Bookstore and CSU-operated bookstores claim to be the better choice for students looking for the cheapest books. Now there is a new player in the game.
Big Dog Textbooks CSU, which opened at 829 S. Shields St. in May, promises to offer students better customer service, a higher volume of used books, a student-friendly atmosphere and free promotional items.
“We always go after the used books first,” said manager Angela Merritt. “We don’t buy new books unless we absolutely have to.”
Often, however, the store doesn’t have enough time to order used books if a professor makes a late change to the book list, and is then forced to purchase new books.
“This one has the best prices and a good selection of good books,” said Brooke Kindell a junior finance major.
John Parry, director of the University Bookstore in the basement of the Lory Student Center, said CSU carries the largest supply of used books.
“We’re the only ones who carry all books for CSU courses, and we buy more used books than (other bookstores) do,” Parry said.
Parry said the CSU bookstore has a liberal refund policy. During the first two weeks of school, students have the opportunity to receive full refunds with receipt, no questions asked. Store credit and exchanges are given the third week. Parry also pointed out that if for some reason the student has to withdraw from school during or in between semesters, cash refunds will be given without hesitation.
“Our goal is to serve the students,” Parry said. “We try to make sure we’re flexible enough to meet their needs.”
Those needs also include student organizations and activities housed in the LSC. Some of the store’s revenue goes to the student center to fund those groups.
“I like (the University Bookstore) better. I think it’s more convenient and more organized. I went to the Rams Bookstore and I really didn’t feel comfortable with the system,” said Cheryl Simpson, a senior history major. “It felt kind of crowded.”
Rams Bookstore, at 130 W. Laurel St., has been serving students for over 25 years. It also carries all used books, saving students 25 percent off the retail price.
“We made our niche with the ability to find used books (not only at) CSU,” said Griff Kull, manager of Rams Bookstore.
Rams searches all over the country to find used books sold at the lowest prices for students. Kull said his team is student-oriented. When students walk into the store, there is always a customer service sales representative ready to assist them. Also, if a student orders a book that has been pulled from the course, Rams will refund them the book and find the right one.
“We pride ourselves in having such a broad selection,” Kull said. “We have one of the best selections of imprinted gifts and sports wear clothing.”
In addition to selling books, supplies and school spirit items, Rams makes donations to student organizations.
“We definitely want to support the people who support us,” Kull said.
Amana Miyanae, a senior broadcast journalism major, said Rams is smaller and that the sales representatives are very helpful.
“I used to go to the University bookstore, where it’s more crowded,” said Miyanae. However, she thinks that the prices and availability of used books are the same.
Online bookstores offer wait-free alternative
If long lines are a problem, shopping online is always an alternative. StudentMarket.com, the leading college textbook Web site, compares several competing online bookstores to help students quickly find the lowest textbook price. In addition to textbooks, StudentMarket.com provides information on student loans and credit, and offers for academic software.
The best way to get used books-and as many as possible – is to reserve them and shop early. You can either spend hours switching from site-to-site searching for the best deals, or reserve your books online at www.ramsbookstore.com or at www.bookstore.colostate.edu. No matter where the book was bought, Rams, CSU and Big Dog bookstores buy books back all year. The cash refund deadlines is Sept. 6 for the CSU bookstore and Sept. 7 for Rams and Big Dog.
“I pick up my books from different places,” said Kyle Mckittrick, a junior political science major. “I check all the bookstores for the used books. I’ve even gone down to Front Range Community College. It’s more of a hassle to shop online.”