Study: Book choice price vs. preference

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Photo by Alexandra Nelipa

Illustration by Alexandra Nelipa

By Katherine Garcia

The first decision before buying textbooks is ebook or textbook.

Some students prefer ebooks because searching text is easier. Also, the text can be accessed through any computer. However, the text can only be accessed if there is a Wi-Fi connection nearby so a student can log into the website where the textbook is hosted.

Although textbooks are heavier, you can read anywhere.

Once a student knows the preferred medium, the search for the cheapest book begins.

Students can bring their class schedules with complete section numbers to the college bookstore or nearby L&M Bookstore or Discount Textbooks, and an employee will find the correct book.

The next question is whether to rent or buy the book. Retailers offer students the option of renting or buying textbooks.

Marissa Romero, floor associate for Follett, this college’s bookstore, said students prefer used textbooks because they’re usually cheaper. Students can rent textbooks from the college bookstore, Romero said.

The college bookstore doesn’t offer many ebooks because most students come in to buy actual textbooks, she said.

Romero said the main competition the bookstore faces are online booksellers and L&M Bookstore at 1716 N. Main Ave. Online sites like,, or can offer cheaper options.

The option to buy ebooks instead of a textbook is a decision that comes with owning a tablet or laptop. Ebooks are usually the less expensive option because electronic copies are easier to reproduce.

Ebooks can be found online by typing in the name of the company that produces the book, signing up for access and paying using a credit card. Many times the access is for a certain number of days or as long as the semester. Should the student need to retake the course, the student will have to pay full price each time an access code is needed.

Liberal arts freshman Kelsey Dean uses a textbook because it is cheaper, but she prefers ebooks.

“I can see them better, and they’re less expensive,” she said, adding ebooks are easier to read using her reading glasses.

She also said ebooks can still be highlighted on and include a dictionary.


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