Students look for best deals on books


Jason Schiffman

Students at Mesa Community College have multiple ways of acquiring any textbooks they may need.

The Mesa Community College bookstore found on campus is one of the most popular options.

“Follett Higher Education Group is the leading provider of bookstore services and the foremost supplier of used books in North America,” said Sonja Ibarra, manager of the MCC bookstore.

“With nearly 900 stores across the country, Follett serves nearly 5 million students,” Ibarra added.

Last year, the MCC bookstore sold more than 34,000 books, rented more than 9,600 and sold more than 700 digital books, Ibarra said.

“Renting has become more a popular option in the past three years, offering an upfront average savings of 50 percent or more. We know that both access and price are important to students – so we continue to offer new and used, in addition to digital offerings for sale,” Ibarra said.

“Buyback is the perfect opportunity for students who purchase their books to recycle them and receive instant cash. Instant cash is always a popular option,” Ibarra said.

Only textbooks in good shape will be bought back. Pages, bindings, and covers must be intact. Text must not be obscured due to stains or excessive markings or highlights.

Tracey Woods, psychology major at MCC, gets all of her books from the bookstore.

“I don’t really care about the pricing; textbooks are expensive everywhere. They always have what I need so I’m satisfied,” Woods said.
MCC student Roger Cunanan wasn’t as pleased.

“The lady working there was really rude. I was trying to return a book and she was just really difficult about it all. I wasn’t doing anything wrong that I know of. I didn’t like it very much,” Cunanan said.
Cunanan hasn’t been back since.

The Textbook Company Inc. is another common choice for textbook purchase. Located across Southern Avenue from the campus, the store was opened in 1987 by Bill Roe.

Roe said that the store buys and sells textbooks every day of the year. During the first and last weeks of the semester, thousands of books are bought.

Roe added that students occasionally buy books for the current semester but they usually buy books for the upcoming semester. According to Roe, buying is still more popular than renting. Only one in four books are rented.

Roe said that renting costs more in the long run. Forty percent of books that are sold are bought back, Roe said. Roe said sales have been down these past few years due to students buying books on Amazon; however, he maintained that his store has some clear advantages over the MCC bookstore.

Roe said that his prices are better by about 5 percent. He also said that his store is larger, and that the ease of parking attracts students who do not wish to walk across campus to get to the bookstore. Roe did admit, however, that he will be cutting back the size of his store due to lower profits.

MCC student Kelly Addenstein has been buying all of her school supplies at The Textbook Company Inc.

“I’ve gotten all my books here. I also get scantrons and other stuff here, too,” Addenstein said. “The workers are friendly and they have everything.”

Freshman Gabriella Lee wasn’t as pleased. Lee felt she did not get a fair price on a buyback.

“It’s stupid. I spent a lot of money and they just pretty much ripped me off. I’m never coming back here,” Lee said.

Roe explained that Lee was a victim of the late requisitions.

Another popular option for getting a hold of textbooks is the MCC library.

The library has about 30 percent of all textbooks in circulation, according to Library Department Chair Ann Tolzman.

Tolzman explained that the library only has what books the instructors give them.

“Libraries can’t buy textbooks,” Tolzman said.

Tolzman explained how some departments are quite good about giving the library textbooks, such as the math department. Others aren’t so good, such as the English department.

“It’s a service we wish we could provide better,” Tolzman said.

Tolzman described how students come to the library in-between classes to use textbooks briefly. Tolzman said how some students even photo copy pages from textbooks.

“Textbooks are a rip-off,” she said.

Textbooks are available on the first floor of the library at the circulation desk.

Tolzman believes despite the small selection of books, it is one of the library’s most important services.

MCC student Anita Bates, a geology major, has never used the textbooks at the library.
“I didn’t even know you could, that’s awesome. I’m going to do that from now on,” Bates said. “Textbooks are so expensive, it’s a scam. Its money going into the fat cat’s pockets.” A new option for getting textbooks is

With the option to save up to 40 percent on new textbooks, 90 percent on used, 80 percent on rentals, and 80 percent on buybacks, the website has taken off as a legitimate way to acquire textbooks.

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