The once a semester trip to the campus bookstore is becoming less and less common for many students at Florida A&M.
Students say the bookstore, located in the Student Services Center, is too expensive.
“I really do feel like (the FAMU bookstore) is overpriced,” said Josh Diaz, 18, from Orlando.
Diaz, a first-year psychology student, buys books from web sites like Chegg.com because “they’re cheaper.”
Diaz is also frustrated with the bookstore’s policy that does not allow him to return Florida A&M edition books.
“They’ll sell you a custom FAMU book, but they won’t buy it back,”Diaz said.
Using an example from last semester, he stated, “I paid almost $400 for six books and was only able to get $75 back.”
Concerned students like Diaz have made the online textbook business boom in the past few years. According to biblio.com, online textbook sales during August and September have increased 40 percent since 2007.
According to a FAMU bookstore sales associate book companies are forced to raise prices for students because most of the money goes towards publishers.
Despite the explanation, Akintunde Gbadebo, 19, a first-year Biology student from Nigeria has also decided to purchase online. “The prices are ridiculous so I go to sites like Barnes and Noble,” Gbadebo said.
Still she feels confident that bookstores will be able to maintain their position in the university setting.
“I don’t think they should be worried because no matter how ridiculous the prices are there are some books that are not offered other places,” Gbadebo said.
However some students are skeptical about the future of traditional bookstores.
“I don’t think we’ll have an actual bookstore 50 years from now because of the ridiculous prices,” said Ashley Davis, a sophomore Business Administration student.
The 19-year-old Dallas native frequently visits sites like halfpricedbooks.com and eBay since her freshman year. Davis observes students as either trying to slip by without buying textbooks or purchasing from the bookstore. The first option often resulting in a failing grade. The second option leaves them feeeling as though they wasted their money.
Her advice is to post what you need around campus and have an upperclassmen sell it to you. In return, you do the same the following semester for someone else.
While the future of traditional textbook sales is unclear, it is obvious that students are finding innovative new solutions to an age-old problem.