The NYU Bookstore implemented online price comparison and in-store textbook rentals, new programs that will help students avoid the sometimes time-consuming and expensive task of acquiring textbooks.
A beta version of an online price comparison service, released earlier this summer, is now available on the bookstore’s website. The beta version allows students to choose course numbers for their classes, as well as compare bookstore prices with those of competitors, such as Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
After sufficient testing, the full version will enable students to enter their NYU ID numbers to get a list of all their classes, eliminating the need to input course numbers.
Bookstore director Phil Christopher explained that the price comparison page is the starting point for all NYU students who want to buy books, regardless of where they make their final purchase.
“The price comparison site is really the only place they need to visit, and there they will find all the online format and price options available,” Christopher said.
The in-store rental program is another one of the latest additions to bookstore services. Because new rental options are now available, they have caught up to the popularity of the e-books, which were in high demand three to four years ago.
In-store rental machines at the bookstore offer students a quick and easy alternative to buying books. When students look for their books in the aisles, stickers indicate if they are available to rent. If renting is an option, students may take the books to the rental kiosk, select the rental period and check out the books themselves to avoid long cash register lines.
Many similar options are already available at other bookstores serving New York colleges, according to Jason Chan, a Barnes & Noble representative 18th street store, which serves college students in the surrounding area.
“The trend so far is that students prefer to rent than purchasing e-books,” Chan said.
Christopher noted that renting is often the cheapest option available for students because they do not lose value on the buy-back event at the NYU bookstore the end of each semester. Elizabeth Kryshak, a Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development junior, found the kiosks helpful for receiving books instantly.
“I usually rent from online sources, but the machines at the bookstore make everything easier,” Kryshak said. “You don’t have to wait around for your books to ship, you just walk out of the store with them.”
These new initiatives are aimed to increase the convenience and ease of acquiring textbooks, and are funded entirely by bookstore sales.
“We’ve always looked for ways to give students more choices and help them save money,” Christopher said. “In the past we have aggressively tried to increase our supply of used books, have introduced multiple e-book options for many books, and the in-house rentals and comparison shopping options were a natural extension of this.”
A version of this article appeared in the Sept. 4 print edition. Gentry Brown is university editor. Email her at email@example.com.
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