High Book Prices Drive Students Elsewhere

Angelica Fraire

Want to save money on books, but don’t know how? Students are buying them through the Internet, from friends and through the GCC bookstore, but another alternative may be right across the street from campus.

The Bookmart and Copy Center, nicknamed “The Underground Bookstore,” offers students lower prices on textbooks and supplies, a welcome relief in these economic times.

The Bookmart and Copy Center is a small bookstore that sells the same books that GCC students need for their classes, but that is not all. The bookstore also has scantrons, calculators and a copy machine students can use for a fee.

When asked what he thought about GCC’s bookstore prices, Mario Montes, 18, criminal justice major, said, “I don’t like the prices; they are too much.”

Both Montes and his friend Luis G. Meza, 17, administration of justice major, were surprised to discover that Bookmart has different prices compared to EBay and the GCC bookstore.

Meza said, “GCC is a rich school for rich people, and here [Bookmart and Copy Center] is for everyone else.” He continued to say, “There is a difference… I’ll rather go here [Bookmart and Copy Center].”

Montes agreed. “You see the difference. You buy a book at GCC for $75, and here for $35,” he said, comparing GCC’s price to Bookmart’s price on an English book he needed.

A used Math 138 textbook at the GCC Bookstore is $105.60 according the bookstore Web site. The same used book cost, $95 at Booksmart, $78.02 at Barnes and Nobles, and Half.com sells it for $72.95 according to the Web site’s best price.

When Alex Martinez, a worker for Booksmart, was asked about the bookstore’s prices, she stated, “I do not know they are better, I do know [students] save more money here.”
Martinez was surprised to know that the bookstore is nicknamed “The Underground Bookstore.”

“I was surprised because I know that the bookstore is hard to find and students get lost trying to find this place,”
she said.

When asked if the bookstore carries all the books that GCC students need, Martinez said, “I try to carry 85 percent of the books.” She admitted that the only way for the bookstore to do better is for the economy to improve. Promoting the store has been hard, she said.

When Martinez was asked what the percentage is when it comes to buy-backs, she stated, “During finals week, the bookstore gives 50-55 percent of buy-backs to students. And throughout the year it is a 25-35 percentage.”

Compared to GCC’s bookstore, GCC bookstore Director Anjali Stanislaus stated that, “There has been a five percent increase in book prices.” And as the publishers increase their prices, students will continue to see prices for books increase.

“There has been a 35 percent increase of students buying less,” Stanislaus said when asked how much students are buying.

Stanislaus has seen a difference in buy-backs the past three to four years, but she said she has “seen a decrease in buy-backs in the last three [years].” She also said that more and more students “are buying among themselves.”

Stanislaus does not guarantee that the bookstore will give students 50 percent off when it comes to buy-backs, because there are different factors that come into play. For example, the book might go into a new edition.

Whether students buy from the GCC bookstore, the Internet, from Bookmart and Copy Center, Barnes & Nobles, copying the required pages from the GCC Library or from another student on campus, all students want to do is save money the best way they can.

The Bookmart and Copy Center is located on 1528 Canada Blvd.