Books or Bucks?

Tammie Tamara

Tammie TamaraSection Editor

With buy-back week coming up next week, students will try to reclaim some of the precious dollars they spent for the books. Next semester, they will once again spend hundreds on both new and used books.

Little do most students know that the money they shell out goes back into the university in some way to help fund their education.

“The money stays right here on campus,” said Book Store Director Gary Burdick.

Completely self-supported, the book store uses its income to cover staff and student worker salaries, rent to the Union, phone bills and insurance. Additional revenue goes back to the university for projects.

“If we weren’t generating those funds for those projects, guess who it would fall back on to pay for those?” Burdick asks.

Luckily, the students have help in paying for those projects.

“All those sales that we generate via the Internet, via the mail order, alumni and friends all over the country, go towards funds for projects,” he said.

Buy-back week is designed to help students as well as the book store.

Whether students take home a pile of cash or a few dollar bills depends on two things: whether the book will be used next semester, and whether the book store has enough of that book in stock.

If the book store needs the book for a class next semester and the store needs more of that book, the book store will buy the book back for 60 percent of the current retail value, Burdick said.

“Most stores only pay 50 percent,” he said.

If, on the other hand, the book is not being used again, a wholesaler will buy it for anywhere from zero to one-third of the value.

Buying back from students saves the book store from buying more books from the wholesaler. That means the book store saves 10 percent on the freight charge.

“I kick that extra 10 percent back to the students,” Burdick said.

Students receive many benefits by buying from the campus book store, he said.

“It’s the convenience,” he said.

When students are dropping and adding classes, it is easy to return a book that isn’t needed.

Another benefit, he said, is that, “We have the most current information of what is required [for classes].”

Assistant Vice President Wesley Tschetter said students will never stop complaining.

“Complaining about prices hasn’t changed since 35 years ago when I was a student,” he said. “They’d complain if books were 25 cents.”

However, the book store has a fairly competitive price compared to other possible sources, such as the Internet.

“I don’t think there’s anybody out there who has a price structure that can be as comparative as the University Book Store.”

Junior biology pre-med major Regan Norgaard typically spends $450 a semester on books. He doesn’t make much from buy-back.

“I don’t know exactly how much, but very, very little.”

Each semester, he tries to buy from fellow students instead of the book store to save money.

“Because of the prices, I try to find friends [to buy from] who have already taken the class. We can both save like $20 or something ridiculous like that,” he said.

He said the book store should either give more money back for buy-back or mark the used books at lower prices.

“I think someone’s making some money there. It’s not me.”

#1.888392:2743096544.jpg:bookstore.jpg:Student workers Nikki Labat and Laura Carlson unpack books in preparation for the new semester.:Benjamin Hoefer