While online textbook sales are on the rise, West Chester University isn?t affected. Students would rather shop at SSI or Dynamic for their textbooks than online, despite often cheaper prices.Terry Shira, manager of the SSI bookstore, said that his store had not noticed a decline in sales due to students buying their books online.
He said that SSI also keeps their prices very competitive to those on the top five online bookstores.
Shira stated that up until fall 2004, there were “huge disparities between the Internet?s prices and ours,” with SSI having the better prices. Since last semester, many Internet bookstores have made drastic changes that caused their prices to lower.
Eric Lewandowski, a junior, said that the reason he purchased a textbook online was because “the publisher was out of the book, so it was never shipped to SSI or Dynamic.”
Lewandowski went on, “I think I?m going to try [buying books online] for next semester, because it?s easier to find good deals. It?s more convenient since you don?t have to wait in long lines, or even leave the house.” Shira would argue the opposite. “I truly believe that campus bookstores have something to offer:…convenience.”
Shira reiterated the return policy at SSI: take your book to the return line, present your receipt with your text in the designated amount of time, receive your full refund. When returning a book to an online bookstore, he described the seemingly longer process: download a return label, package the book, pay to send the book back to the company, wait for them to receive your book, wait for your account to be credited, purchase the new book and wait for it to arrive.
Lewandowski said that, while his book cost $6, he would not have returned it to the company had it been the wrong book. Again, convenience comes up. Most students interviewed would have no problem returning a $6 book to a campus bookstore, but wouldn?t want to return it to an online store.
A breakdown of where the money spent on textbooks goes can be found on SSI?s Web site: www.click2ssi-bookstore.com. The Web site gives a detailed explanation of where the student?s money is divided, since many students are concerned with the price of textbooks.
In order to bridge the world of online ordering and campus bookstores, SSI has devised an online textbook reservation system. Shira said the system worked “extremely well” last semester.
Students can go to SSI?s Web site and see what books are needed for their classes and then reserve those titles for later pickup at the bookstore. Students can even pay for the books online and simply pick them up at SSI. The bookstore is “working on a problem to sell your books online.”
In the meantime, SSI assures that they will buy back any book, no matter where it was initially purchased, as long as it is in demand for the following semester.