Shopping around can save

Jan 222004
Authors: Carmen Filosa

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,”

Parry said.

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.

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