Textbook Affordability Addressed at CSM


College Store Offers New, Used, Rental and Buyback Options

To address student textbook affordability, the College of Southern Maryland College Store is offering students many ways to save on textbooks and supplies for the spring semester.

“Textbook affordability is a key concern for many college students. They are searching for quality textbooks at affordable rates,” said Auxiliary Services Executive Director Marcy Gannon.

“We are offering students an option for lower textbook prices by renting textbooks through the College Store. Students can save up to 50 percent off the cost of a new or used textbook by renting a book for the semester,” said Gannon, adding that most college textbook rental programs apply only to new books. “At CSM, students can get the most value by renting a used book,” said Gannon.

In addition to lower prices, renting through the College Store saves time, shipping fees and errors, said Gannon. “Students get the right book at the right price at the right time—plus, re-using textbooks promotes recycling and encourages a green attitude,” she said.

Gannon and CSM Languages and Literature Professor Richard Siciliano, who has been with CSM for more than 40 years, have proactively worked to help lower student costs by encouraging faculty to compare textbook costs before adopting titles for their courses. “Faculty are much more aware of costs to students,” said Gannon, adding that CSM Text and Trade Book Manager Dona Batten is often included in discussions on what books faculty will be using which is rare in the industry.

Faculty consider the use of paperback, binder-ready and custom books which can provide a savings. For example, a hardback copy of “Unity and Diversity of Life” for Biology 1020 will cost students more than $200. However, when faculty examined the curriculum needs for the class, they decided to use a custom paperback which includes only the chapters that are being taught for $123.

 “We frequently see students that have tried to save money by purchasing from our online competitors and have received wrong books that they can’t return, or have received books in bad shape with missing pages,” said Gannon. “We care that students get the materials that they need to succeed. If an instructor changes a textbook or if a course is cancelled, we can fix it.”

 “When students buy from the College Store, the money we generate goes back to support student services, such as purchasing computers for campus labs,” Gannon said.

On January 11, CSM College Stores in La Plata, Leonardtown and Prince Frederick, as well as at the online College Store, will offer 10 percent savings on new and used textbooks.

            At the end of each semester, the College Stores offer end-of-semester buyback days where students are paid 50 percent of the new book cost—whether the student purchased the book as new or used. Last year, buyback payouts to students increased eight percent, putting more than $210,000 back into students’ wallets, Gannon said.

While faculty members are in favor of more options and lower prices, we are also in favor of students buying and keeping their textbooks—especially those books in their major as these books can form the essentials to a personal library collection. I have many of my undergraduate and graduate textbooks on my shelves at home and find myself referencing them from time to time,” said CSM Professor Mike Green, president of CSM’s Faculty Senate.

The College Stores also carry computers designed and priced for college students that are more durable with extra memory and academic software.

For information on the College Stores, visit http://www.csmcollegestore.com/csmd/main/splash.htm.