By: Jonathan Baca, Senior Reporter
Getting the required textbooks for each term without breaking the bank is becoming more difficult and students have few options when trying to save money, said Paralegal Studies Major Elisabeth Gehring.
The high cost of new textbooks and the addition of supplemental materials like reference books, workbooks and online codes, make many students feel fed up, said Gehring.
“It’s just crazy how expensive textbooks are at the CNM bookstore. It’s only my second semester and I have already spent alone,” said Gehring. almost $800 on books
The campus bookstores are run by Follett, a private contractor and book publisher that runs college bookstores all over the country, said Vice President of Student Services Phillip Bustos.
“A company comes in, bids when we put out a request for proposals, and we try and choose the best bidder. Follett has been here at CNM at least 16 years,” said Bustos.
Textbooks are selected by a committee within each department and orders are then placed with Follett, said Bustos.
These committees make decisions such as whether a new edition will be required for classes, or whether to choose a book with an internet component.
“They will often choose to bundle products, like a CD, an additional workbook or an online code, and then they work with the bookstore in bundling those resources for the student,” said Bustos.
The addition of these supplemental resources especially the online codes — can cost student sa lot more money, said Fire Science Major Josh Silva.
Silva said he tries to save money by buying his textbooks used off the internet, finding downloadable versions or getting with another classmate to share a textbook.
“The bookstore is the last place you should look to get your textbooks,” said Silva.
With the addition of online codes, which must be purchased by each student for full price at the beginning of each term, many of these strategies no longer work.
“The online codes are a huge rip-off. They want to force you to buy a brand new book, when you could get a used one or share and it would work just as good,” said Silva.
Online codes can be purchased separate from the printed textbook, but the savings are small, said Gehring.
Follett has no control over which materials are chosen and how much they cost, said District Director of CNM bookstores Ann Heaton, a Follett employee.
“Our first goal is to save the students as much money as we possibly can. We do our best to make sure the faculty are educated as to the options that are available to students to help save them money,” said Heaton.
The bookstore offers several options, including new and used textbooks, digital books for laptops or tablets, and many books that can be rented, both in printed and digital form, said Heaton.
Digital books are typically cheaper than printed books and, with the growing number of students who use tablets and laptops, the digital options are becoming more common, she said.
“Some can be purchased outright, and some can be rented for 180 days, after which the book is erased,” said Heaton.
For students who receive financial aid, there are other options beside the CNM bookstore. Campus Bookstore, on Central Avenue west of Girard Boulevard, carries all required textbooks at lower prices and accepts financial aid, said Manager Wes Strassle.
The bookstore also offers a program for students waiting on financial aid money, he said.
“We do a hold check program. You can write a check for the amount of your books, we’ll hold that and give you two weeks to pay it off from disbursement day,” said Strassle.
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