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Combating the High Price of Textbooks


St. Mary's Campus Store strives to offer several alternatives to new textbooks in order to help keep textbook costs for our students as low as possible. We have consistently obtained nearly twice the national average of used books at our store for our students. For the 2015/2016 academic year, we sold nearly two and a half times the national average of used books at our store. In addition, many of the professors at St. Mary's have adopted older editions of textbooks for their courses which significantly helps to lower textbook costs for our students. We began renting textbooks during the fall 2010 semester and we have expanded the program significantly since that time. In addition, we offer ebook alternatives for many of our textbooks.

Details of our low-cost alternatives are shown below.

Used Textbooks

St. Mary's Campus Store purchases as many used textbooks as possible. Used textbooks are typically priced at 75% of the current retail price of the new book. Our used-to- new textbook sales ratio for the 2015/2016 academic year was 128% compared to 46% for stores in our sales category as reported in the 2016 National Association of College Stores Financial Survey. We conduct large textbook buybacks at the end of each semester and we pay approximately 50% of the used price for those books which are adopted for the following term. Textbooks not adopted are bought back at wholesale prices which are determined by one of the nation's largest used textbook wholesalers.

Older Editions

Many of the professors at St. Mary's have adopted older editions of textbooks for their courses which significantly helps to lower textbook costs for our students. Older edition textbooks are priced significantly less than the comparable new edition. For the 2015/2016 academic year, older editions were used in 140 different class sections.

Rentals

The textbook rental program is designed to reduce the upfront financial outlay for students at the beginning of the semester. Textbook rentals are typically priced at 50-80% of the retail price of the book.However, it is normally slightly less expensive to purchase the book and sell it back at the end of the semester in order to minimize the cost of the book.

eBooks

eBook alternatives are made available for many of the more expensive textbooks. eBooks are typically priced at approximately 50-60% of the corresponding new textbook list price.