A new semester marks the beginning of many new things for Luther students. A new semester means new classes, new professors, a new classroom environment, and unfortunately new textbooks. Though all these new things may be exciting, some of these things are also stressful to think about. One of the most stressful things to deal with at the beginning of the semester is textbooks. The bookshop on campus eliminates this issue by stocking its shelves with all the correct textbooks required for every class.
One might think that all the stress surrounding textbooks is alleviated with the bookstore, but for some it’s not. The prices of textbooks can be quite overwhelming. One of my friends bought a new textbook from the bookshop for $15 for a book that was less than 100 pages. You can imagine her disappointment when she looked at the back of the book to realise that the actual price was $5. This difference in price is unsettling for many college students. The fact that one can find the same textbooks online or in other bookstores for a cheaper price, the majority of the time, whether new or used is very annoying. The process of getting books at the beginning of the semester is supposed to be easier with the bookshop being available, but it is not when I have to compare prices for multiple sites to prices in the bookshop.
At the end of the semester, you’re given the opportunity to sell your books back to the bookshop. The sound of this would make you think that spending all that money is worth it if you’re going to get most of your money back, but this is false. When students sell their books back to the bookstore, the value of their books is often undercut. Students receive far less of what they actually bought their books for. While it makes sense that a used textbook would be worth less than the price it was previously bought for, it is unfair to have such a significant discrepancy between the initial costs the student spent and what the bookstore pays.
The bookshop’s primary goal should be to provide affordable textbooks to the Luther community. In some ways the bookstore is successful in this goal because they provide other options for purchasing textbooks such as the price comparison. However, in many ways the bookshop falls short of offering fair prices when it comes to students buying and selling their books. As a student, I should walk into the bookshop feeling confident that I will get all my books at a reasonable price. But unfortunately buying textbooks through Luther can add to the stresses of starting a new semester as it can create a serious financial burden for some student.
Opinions expressed in columns and letters are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Chips or organizations with which the author(s) are associated.