After two years of adjusting to the bookstore’s transition to a fully online format, students and faculty on campus have been able to compare prices and accessibility and reflect on how they’ve fared in this new era.
Some students have been around long enough to experience the bookstore when it was an in-person store and all the benefits it provided for the campus community. However, when the bookstore went online, the decision was made without the input of those it affected the most: students and faculty.
Business administration senior Jahlyn Wynns has seen both versions of the bookstore and has mentioned that the online bookstore has pros and cons when it comes to accessibility.
“It was easier for me just to walk down [to the in-person bookstore] and go purchase a book. [With] the online version, you have to order, and wait and go through all that stuff,” Wynns said.
The online bookstore does provide students with more options, like getting books new or used and renting physical copies or eBooks. Nursing freshman Zsa’Ria Naves has preferred using Amazon to buy her textbooks because the prices are much cheaper.
“I tend to find my online or used books [on Amazon] instead of buying them from Ferris because it’s too expensive,” Naves said.
Forensic science and chemistry instructor Mary Bacon also encourages her students to use Amazon for cheaper prices. She has seen firsthand how this transition has affected her students.
“Students would say, ‘Well I’m gonna wait till the last minute,’ and then they won’t get their things,” Bacon said. “[Before], when they found out they really needed it, they would just walk to the bookstore, buy the book and come to class. Now they can’t do that.”
While trying to find the cheapest textbooks, Bacon has still seen many students who were not able to pay for their books, which leads to them not having required texts during class. With this, she hopes students think of textbooks as an “investment.”
“All I can say is education is an investment, and you have to look at your books as part of that investment,” Bacon said. “If it’s important enough to you, you will find a way to make it happen. I just try to encourage people that it’s important enough. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
The student financial services office at Ferris lends students a helping hand with textbooks by giving out vouchers. Students can use $250 worth of credit per semester on their accounts for textbooks. This is known as the student charge program. According to the Ferris website, to be eligible for this program, you have to be registered for semester courses and not have a previous balance owed for bookstore charges.
Wynns uses his book voucher to purchase textbooks for the classes he knows will 100% require the textbook. The voucher also keeps him secure by giving him extra money to purchase household necessities or to use in case of an emergency.
“It helped a lot,” Wynns said. “It gave me insurance that I’ll be able to save more money, and I don’t always use all of the money for the textbooks, so sometimes I get money back in my pocket or for food.”
Now that the online bookstore is partnering with Akademos and a marketplace, the majority of students might be able to find their textbooks for a little cheaper.
If you are a student who struggles with finding textbooks, or securing the funds to pay for textbooks, go to the student financial services office and see how Ferris can help you.