I have been a student at UNCC (University of North Carolina at Charlotte) for the past 3 years. In that time it had to buy a lot of books and I’ve seen tuition and school fees increase at an alarming rate during that time. One of the worst things that I’ve seen is the UNCC bookstore run by Barnes & Noble. Their prices are absolutely ridiculous on anything and everything.
Most students know not to go there to buy their textbooks or other books. You can always find a far better price elsewhere – always! The recent UNCC publication entitled Survival Guide 2011 has an article on page 39 about buying books and alternatives for students to save on textbooks. On the right there’s a picture with some graphs comparing UNCC Charlotte Barnes & Noble with Chegg and Gray’s Bookstore.
Beasley this article was edited by someone higher up at the school that does not want students to know the reality of how far off and how bad the prices really are at the student bookstore. They chose to companies with prices that are somewhat close to the UNCC bookstore’s prices. They purposely left out an awful lot of alternatives that are far cheaper. even then it still shows that UNC’s bookstore is the most pricey out there.
But Gray’s bookstore itself is only on average about 10% cheaper than the student bookstore. And Cheggs is one of the highest priced textbook rental companies or services online. so what are the better alternatives? Well, one of my favorites is Amazon.com. They did mention Amazon in the article but only very, very briefly – it was only mentioned in a very fleeting manner.
I have used Amazon.com numerous times and on average I pay 1/4th the price or less of what they charge the student bookstore. Since attending UNCC I have not spent anymore then $40 for a textbook. But I can go to the student bookstore and find the same textbooks for $180 or more sometimes. That is both ridiculous and a ripoff at the same time – students need to be warned not to use the student bookstore.
Besides Amazon, I have also used Ebay to purchase international editions of textbooks. Generally speaking I can buy a $180 book for around $25 including shipping through Ebay. And if you were to take four or five classes per semester the savings adds up fast. Especially if you add them up for your entire time that you’re in college – it can be thousands of dollars in savings and if you have a student loan that can equal a huge savings in what you have to in terms of interest and principle.
Another great option, especially for summer classes is Bob and Ted’s textbook rental at the Arby’s parking lot across the street from UNCC (on University Blvd.) At the beginning of every semester for the first several days there is a big white truck in the corner of the Arby’s parking lot where you can rent textbooks for just about any class at UNCC for far less then most other options. In the summer they rent textbooks for around $30 or less per summer session – a far greater deal then paying on average $140 to $180 at the way over priced UNCC Barnes & Noble bookstore.
I have yet to buy a book from the UNCC bookstore. One time, this bone head professor I had required a book that they wrote and compiled for a class and the bookstore wanted something like $195 or so for it. I refused to give in and buy their book. I bought a different and more accepted version of the book that they were using for the same class at MIT and Virginia Tech. The version I bought was a previous version so it only cost me $12 for the book including shipping plus I also bought the accompanying student study guide for it for $5.
My boneheaded professor tried to tell me that it would hurt me not having his book. I ended up getting higher grades then all the kids in the class and made the professor look like an idiot. He even tried to use specific examples from the book he wrote and used in class to try and get me on tests. It didn’t matter – I had better information, studied better and blew away the rest of the class. The harder he tried to make the tests the worse the rest of the students did and the better the grade curve worked out for me.
So, the moral to the story is do not buy books at the UNCC student bookstore and tell your friends not to either (don’t use their new rental program either – it is sure to be the most expensive of it’s kind by far). If you see someone buying or renting books at the UNCC Barnes & Noble bookstore they are either a complete idiot or they are spending Daddy and Mommy’s money like there is no tomorrow and don’t care (that is disgusting in my opinion).
Shop around for your textbooks on Amazon.com, Ebay, Ed and Bob’s, etc… You will literally save yourself or your parents thousands of dollars on textbooks over the course of your college years.