North Texas Daily

Textbooks: dot-com versus brick and mortar

Textbooks: dot-com versus brick and mortar

Textbooks: dot-com versus brick and mortar
January 20
00:08 2015

Kayleigh Bywater / Staff Writer

It’s the start of the spring semester, and both returning and new students enter their classes for the first time. Although the classrooms and lecture halls are full of students with various majors, one thing connects them all: every person will need a textbook to help get them through the course.

Although not all classes offered at UNT require textbooks, the majority have specific books that students need in order to succeed in the course.

From online marketplaces to campus bookstores, students are able to choose from many different options when purchasing textbooks.

Unlike ordering online and waiting days to get books, students do not have to walk far from campus to get the books they need.

Business management senior Catherine Reid is a merchandising manager at Voertman’s on Fry Street, one of the many bookstores on and around campus.

“It is really convenient to have stores right off of campus for students to get their books at the beginning of the semester, even though all of the stores around Denton are pretty competitive on who has the best prices,” Reid said.


Public relations senior Jalen Wright takes a student’s book order over the phone at Campus Bookstore. The store is located at 900 Ave. C across the street from Chicken Express.

Reid said she believes what makes shopping in-store a great option is being able to see the product right then.

Even though purchasing books online may be the cheaper option sometimes, buying in-store allows students to get in and out with everything they need, Reid said.

“Our No. 1 priority is that our customers are satisfied after they get their textbooks from us,” Reid said. “We are convenient and do not make students wait to get their books. Buying at the store allows for students to have faith that the textbooks they are paying for are good quality.”

With an array of book options comes the challenge of finding the best price.

Music education and performance freshman Sarah Seagraves said above all, price is what she looks at most.

“Money management is a vital part of surviving college,” Seagraves said. “Anything that saves me money is a good thing. As I have learned, it is pretty expensive and financially draining, so when you can find cheaper textbooks for classes you are only taking for one semester, the extra cash you save adds up.”

Even though stores like Voertman’s and the Campus Bookstore are more accessible, online sources such as Amazon and Chegg provide low prices and free shipping to college students.

With Amazon, students can purchase an Amazon Prime for Students membership with a discount of $49.99 a year that allows books to be shipped to them within two days.


Kinesiology senior Vincent Chavez takes inventory at Barnes and Noble. Students can purchase books in the store or order them online and pick them up later.

One textbook a lot of students need is “Ancient Rhetoric for Contemporary Students,” used in English Composition Writing I and II. On the UNT Barnes & Noble website, it is $62.20 to rent a used edition of the book. On the other hand, it costs $22.85 on Amazon, $23.99 on Chegg and $19.04 on Textbook Rentals to rent the same book used.

Not all books are this close in price. “Organic Chemistry,” a textbook needed by science students, sells for $300.65 at Barnes & Noble, $175.09 on Amazon, $182.49 on Chegg and $49.44 on Textbook Rentals to buy new.

A big factor in deciding whether or not to buy online is the time when students go to purchase books. For English senior Brittany Demars, online purchasing can be somewhat difficult because she waits until after classes start to get her textbooks.

“I normally buy them the first or second week of school because I want to make sure I really need them and am getting the right book,” Demars said. “The most challenging thing with that is finding the books you need for a reasonable price that you can get in time. Since I do wait so long to get my books, I am really pushed for time so ordering online can be a hassle.”

Aside from stressing over where to get books and how much they will cost, some students see long-term benefits to using textbooks.

“How useful textbooks are really depends on the students,” criminal justice junior Yvette Hernandez said. “Sometimes professors do not even use the textbook as often as other professors. However, I do think paying money for textbooks does pay off in a student’s overall education. The more you read, the more you learn.”

Featured Image: A Barnes and Noble employee helps a student locate a textbook inside the temporary bookstore. Photos by Matthew Brown – Staff Photographer

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