Textbook Costs – BC Bookstore or Amazon?

At Belhaven College we have been extremly concerned about the high cost of textbooks nationwide. It is not unusual for student to spend $500 to $1,000 per semester for books.

To cut these costs as much as possible, our faculty are careful about not requiring a book which is not important to the class – which is the most important step in cost savings.

We also work to keep the costs low in our bookstore by cutting the textbook margin as tight as possible. We do not make money on textbooks. Instead, we price them for students at our direct cost, plus shipping and other direct costs that allow us to make textbooks conveniently available in the bookstore on campus.

But would a Belhaven student’s textbooks be less expensive on Amazon? We often check to see, and I just received this note from the Director of our bookstore, Sheila Lyons

Just to let you know, as I was pricing the textbooks for our listing, I went to Amazon to compare between 12 and 15 of our titles. In all but one case, we were less expensive! We just had a set of parents who had requested the information from us in the summer who will be purchasing the books from us because we are less expensive for the books their daughter needs than either half.com or Amazon. This makes me happy!!

This year we will be exploring other options to save students money on the cost of textbooks, including “textbook rental” for some courses. Also, we are exploring “customized textbooks” that would allow us to offer more focused books which include only the material a professor needs for the course, rather than the full book (when only part of which is used in some courses.)

If you’re interested in this national trend of skyrocketing textbook costs, take a look at maketextbooksaffordable.org.

P.S. Our bookstore does sell Belhaven apparel and other Belhaven mechandise online. Click here to shop online.