Buying books online has helped students save money, but if sales in the bookstore continue to decrease, the campus may be affected.
The money made by the bookstore goes to the Associated Students of Glendale Community College (ASGCC), which use the money to fund scholarships, campus events, grants and clubs among other things.
Anjali Stanislaus, bookstore director, said that bookstore sales have decreased by 25 percent in the last three years due to an increasing number of students that have been buying their books from online sites such as Amazon.com and Half.com.
“The bookstore’s sales fluctuate just like in any other business and we are feeling the effects of the current economic downturn,” said Paul Schlossman, dean of student affairs.
The decrease of bookstore sales have not affected the number of scholarships that are distributed to students since the scholarships are funded by other sources such as individual donors, but the concern of what the effect could be remains on Stanislaus’ mind.
“People shop online for everything, not just textbooks. It’s affecting retail stores everywhere; people shop to find a cheaper price,” said Stanislaus.
Buying books from other students has also become popular on campus as it gives the buyer a chance to save money and the seller a chance to make more money than he or she would by selling used books back to the bookstore.
“I usually buy books from other students because they are significantly cheaper,” said Alexander Barriga, 19, English.
Barriga buys his books from other students about 50 percent of the time and 50 percent from a combination of going shopping online or going to the bookstore, where he says that prices are, “absolutely absurd, the books cost more than the classes. I find that excessive.”
Some professors, as mentioned by Barriga and other students, encourage their students to buy their books off the Internet or from other students because they understand how expensive books can be.
Barriga’s French book cost $170 in the bookstore and his statistics book cost $140.
“My French professor says that she understands that they are outrageously priced,” said Barriga, “she says, ‘I don’t care how you get a copy of the books, from friends, online, photo copies, as long as you have them.’ That tends to be the common wisdom I find with my professors.”
With students continuing to look for low-priced books, the college bookstore sales may continue to decrease.
A “major annual expense is paying off the financing the college secured for the construction of the J.W. Smith StudentCenter/Bookstore building. The bond payment is approximately $157,000 per year,” said Schlossman.
“If sales continue to decrease, cuts will have to be made – cutting student workers first,” said Stanislaus.
The bookstore continues to make money with books specially designed for the college, with special manuals or compact discs that are only available at GCC.
Talar Tfnakjian, 19-year-old English major, looked for her science books online, hoping to find them for a cheaper price but realized that her books include required manuals that are only available at the bookstore.
“I saw some cheaper prices on Amazon but I didn’t know what my books would be until about a week before classes and wanted to have the books the first week of classes.”
After getting all her required books, she explained that the $500 charged to her credit card would have to be paid with scholarship money she was hoping to save.
As the loss of jobs increase, less students will carry the partly recycled bags labeled “Glendale College Bookstore.”