Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


University Bookstore offers online deal

After a year of planning and weeks of so-called "teaser ads" promoting a big announcement, the University Bookstore unveiled a new program allowing University of Wisconsin students to buy textbooks online for a reduced price.

Textbooks are now available online for summer classes, and books for the fall semester will be available as professors give textbook orders to the bookstore.

"We really view this as being monumental on campus," Kevin Phelps, vice president of the University Bookstore said. "Textbook pricing is such a hot topic, we want to make sure we are doing our part in reducing the price of textbooks."


Unlike rival online retailers and, the online University Bookstore will not charge for shipping and handling and require a waiting period for only as long as a student chooses.

When a student submits an online textbook order to the University Bookstore, the order will be packaged and stored until the student makes the trip to the bookstore to receive the purchase.

UW sophomore Ashley Anderson said the online bookstore will make her life a lot easier because she will not have to deal with the inconvenience and financial stress of going to the bookstore.

"It's a pain, I hate it, I actually dread it," Anderson said. "And I dread how much they are going to cost."

Also, as is custom with in-store sales, students who order textbooks online will have the opportunity to return those books for a full refund through the first two weeks into the semester.

Political science and international studies professor Jon Pevehouse said the popularity of other online textbook sites might delay student recognition of the University Bookstore's program, but anything to keep textbook prices under control is worth trying.

"I think it might take a little while to catch on, but I think already students get books online from other sources like Amazon … so I think there is sort of a natural market," Pevehouse said.

Although the bookstore's online sales are already available, Phelps said there are some elements he hopes to see added to the site in the future.

Two key additions Phelps hopes to see available on the website are a "buy-back alert system" and "student-to-student selling."

The "buy-back alert system" would inform students via e-mail how much money they will receive for selling each book back to the bookstore, and notify them any time price changes.

Phelps compared "student-to-student selling" to classified ads for textbooks.

Students would be able to post advertisements for their textbooks on the University Bookstore website, allowing other students to contact them to buy their books.

According to Phelps, "student-to-student selling" is a priority for the University Bookstore and would solely be for the students' benefit.

"We don't make any money on it, we don't handle any money on it, we just facilitate student-to-student purchasing," Phelps said.

Phelps said he is aware of the possible economic disadvantages the bookstore might face in exchange for the student benefits of online textbook sales, but their main goal is to have the cheapest textbooks available.

The University Bookstore online textbook sales are not related to the textbook rental system that will be run by the Associated Students of Madison beginning next fall.

The rental program offers textbooks acquired by ASM for the three participating classes, while the University Bookstore online system makes the bookstore's textbooks available online.

Both services aim to cut the cost of textbooks for students and allow students to sell textbooks back at the end of the semester.

Phelps said he is excited for the new University Bookstore program to get started.

"It has been a long time coming," Phelps said. "We know that it's the best thing for the students."

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