Alternative bookstores sometimes provide better deals

    Fall quarter has begun, and as usual, there is a mad rush of students purchasing textbooks for their classes. Although the UCSD Bookstore is the main textbook source for students, it is not the only on-campus location for purchasing books, nor is it the cheapest.

    Anna MacMurdo
    Guardian

    “”I didn’t realize one book cost $80,”” said Rose Sbardellati, a Revelle College senior who bought all her books at the University Bookstore.

    So where can one save a little money by finding the cheapest textbooks?

    The University Bookstore, conveniently located in the Price Center, carries the most textbooks, varying by academic department and individual course. Although this bookstore is a convenient location to purchase books and it carries nearly all the subjects one could need, prices have been noticeably marked up.

    Many courses have used texts in stock along with the new ones, in which case the price of the used books are often drastically lower than the new texts. For instance, the price for a used Psych 179 textbook is a low $49 compared to the price for the new version, which costs $66.35. That $17.35 you would save could buy a couple of days’ worth of lunch. Along the same lines, a new Calculus 20 series text costs a whopping $105 compared to the used one, which costs only $78.75 — a $26.25 difference.

    Clark Petersen, an Eleanor Roosevelt College sophomore, spent a total of $336 this quarter purchasing his books at the University Bookstore.

    “”I bought my books at the bookstore because it’s convenient, and I don’t really care about the cheapest prices … it’s not a big deal,”” he said.

    Brandon Borso, another Roosevelt sophomore who also bought his books at the bookstore a day before classes officially began, said, “”My only problem with the bookstore is that the texts run out too quickly.””

    Another location on campus to purchase textbooks is Groundwork Books, a nonprofit store located in the Student Center that gives all of its sales receipts to the Student Co-Op. Therefore, while Groundwork does not guarantee that its text prices will be lower than the University Bookstore, it does not mark up its prices. Although Groundwork mainly carries fiction and nonfiction books with interests in the political and sociological sectors of the world, it also has textbooks for classes in history, literature, communication, political science and others.

    “”Since we are a nonprofit organization, and we are an organization made to serve students, we don’t mark up prices on textbooks,”” said Eleazar Loza, a junior and Groundwork employee.

    When asked why Groundwork doesn’t carry textbooks for the sciences and other subjects, Loza answered, “”Professors and departments place orders with us, and that’s how we determine which textbooks to carry. Thanks to the professors’ and students’ help and support of Groundwork, we’re able to provide them with better service.””

    For added convenience, this year Groundwork will be accepting major credit cards as payment.

    Along with Groundwork, the General Store Co-Op sells various texts for lower prices than the bookstore. Nestled between buildings in the Student Center, the student-run bookstore is often overlooked. Still, for the students who do purchase their texts from the store, they are most often either saving money or looking for a book that ran out of stock in the bookstore. The sales receipts all go to the Student Co-Op as well.

    Students are also finding other means to save a little money on books. Many students are borrowing textbooks from the library or photocopying the required pages rather than actually buying the book.

    “”I once took a humanities course, and they wanted me to buy this huge textbook that cost about $100, and we were only reading a couple chapters in it,”” said senior Candice Pelsky. “”So I borrowed the book from a friend and photocopied the parts I needed. It only ended up costing me $30.””

    For those students who find it necessary to own their books they can also purchase books from other students at lower prices. On average, the textbooks that the students themselves sell can be about $5 cheaper than the price of the same used book sold in the University Bookstore.

    From purchasing books at the University Bookstore to photocopying pages out of a borrowed textbook, students are rushing to collect their materials for the new academic quarter. By investing a little time into finding the cheapest textbooks, students may find it surprising how much they could end up saving.

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