As the new semester begins, many AU students are out of the bookstore to purchase their textbooks from online vendors. These other resources, including Half.com, Amazon.com and IBeatMyBookstore.com offer textbooks for significantly less than the prices offered by the campus store, which is run by Efollett.
AU contracts out to Efollett to run the campus store. This contract legally prohibits the university from promoting any textbook vendor other than Efollett.
Though it makes bureaucratic and financial sense for the university to contract out the management of the bookstore, this arrangement undoubtedly hurts students in the long run. Many students simply will not buy books if they know that an expensive book will be used very little, if at all.
It’s not entirely the fault of the university and Efollett, however. Professors should do their part to use the cheapest textbooks possible and put small portions of books on e-Reserve when possible. Additionally, if professors submit their book list on time, the bookstore can buy back an appropriate amount of copies from the previous semester, increasing the value of the students who sell back and providing more used copies for students taking the class in the next semester.
Textbook prices might be improved by competition. Regardless, it’s ridiculous that the univeristy cannot provide its students with information about other textbook vendors that could save money.