Nov 28, 2016

Used Books

A stack of used textbooks, which cost less than purchasing new books.

Perhaps the most important thing a faculty member can do to save their students money on books is to submit their book requisitions early. The Bookstore requisition deadlines are set up to increase opportunities for students to get money back for their books during the buy-back period, to keep more used books on campus, and to maximize the Bookstore’s ability to purchase used books from outside sources while they still have inventory. If we are not aware that a book is being used again, the student gets less money at the time of buy-back and other schools will have already scooped up the inventory in the used book market. In preparation for spring 2017 book orders, the buy-back period begins on December 16th.

Using textbooks multiple times definitely saves students money. A student who buys a new textbook that costs $100 can get $50 back at the end of the semester if they take advantage of the buy-back option. A student purchasing a used copy of that book pays $75 but also gets $50 at the end of the semester. A students who buys a book that has stayed on campus for over two semesters pays a total of $25 for the book, saving a total of $75. Renting works similarly, but the student realizes a slightly lesser amount of savings upfront.

Finally, we ask faculty to seriously think about which books they are requiring in their courses. One complaint we consistently hear from students at the end of the semester is “I never even used the book.” If the book will not be discussed, it should be listed as optional. If only several chapters of a book will be used, it is often cheaper to include these chapters in a “course reader” than to require students to purchase the entire book.

We are also exploring other ways to save students money. This fall semester, we began piloting an “all inclusive” option that provides students with an ebook version of a text in NYU Classes on the first day of the semester. If they choose to keep the ebook, the cost will be added to their bursar bill. If they want to select another option, they have until the end of the drop/add period to opt-out with no charge. In the courses piloted thus far students saved between 50 and 60% off the list price for a new textbook.

Phil Christopher is Senior Director of NYU Bookstores and Card Services.

Over the past few weeks the NYU Bookstore has been reaching out to all faculty with a three pronged affordability message to encourage them to save their students money on books.

One of the major ways we save students money on books is to facilitate searching the internet to compare prices, right from our web site. Through the Verba platform, students can compare NYU Bookstore prices with Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other internet sellers; Verba also shows the cost of rental and ebook options. Beginning in the spring of 2017 faculty will be able to utilize Verba when they are choosing titles for their courses, ensuring that they can take cost into account at the time they submit their orders. Information about these affordable options can be found on the Bookstore website.