OPINION: How to stop dealing with the overpriced campus bookstore

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Ah, a new semester — the sun is shining (but not during the eclipse), classes are beginning and new students are starting to understand the woes of getting textbooks from the Student Union’s Campus Store. But are they really woes? Only if the woeful students remain unimaginative.

With the closing of Varney’s in 2016, the Campus Store found itself to be Manhattan’s sole provider of textbooks — a situation that is very profitable for them, and very unprofitable for Kansas State students. Many students do not bother buying textbooks, while others just borrow from their classmates when necessary.

Not only does the Campus Store have a captive audience, but they are able to charge exorbitant prices for books that students are forced to pay for if a course requires the textbook. Some classes even ask students to buy expensive textbooks only for certain chapters.

As an insult to injury, a short line at the Campus Store is an often-fictitious luxury during the first week of class. An hour-long wait is common for those looking to either buy books in the store or pick up the books they ordered online.

But is all this tomfoolery actually necessary? Thankfully, it is not. As always, the Internet has a plethora of resources available to the enterprising student for getting textbooks on the cheap.

Websites such as Chegg and Amazon sell new and used textbooks at reasonable prices, compared to the Campus Store’s absurd markup. Amazon also has a robust textbook rental service.

Chegg and Amazon can even ship the textbooks to your doorstep just as fast or faster than you can get them from the Campus Store in the Union. No waiting in lines!

If paying for books is something you would like to avoid altogether, Hale Library offers textbook rentals through the Textbook Affordability Program. As previously reported by the Collegian, the library allows students to freely check out a variety of textbooks for a short time.

Instead of falling prey to the Campus Store’s exploitation and shady business tactics, explore your options before the start of every semester. Maybe the people who run that bookstore would consider more affordable rental programs if they began to lose revenue.

Every student has the resources on hand to find more affordable textbook options — all it takes is a little effort.

Cody Latham is a sophomore in history. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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