Battling bookstores lightens sting on students

Designed by Brittany Smart

The chart below compares the prices of five common textbooks required for NKU courses and sold by three prominent retailers, including Barnes & Noble College, Campus Book & Supply and The cheapest books are denoted by the lightest color and the most expensive by the darkest.

Barnes & Noble College is consistently shown as the most expensive seller of textbooks for NKU students. However, the store’s senior corporate marketing specialist Judith Buckingham said affordability continues to be the top priority for the bookstore.

“This year, more than 80 percent of titles were available to rent, and we introduced the rental buyout for students who wanted to keep their books,” Buckingham said.

Rental buyout is where students are given the chance to pay the difference if they want to own their rented books, an option that many other retailers offer as well.

Buckingham said the bookstore also offers programs to help students succeed in school, such as a loyalty program called Igniting the New Student Connection and I Speak Textbook, which aids students in choosing their textbooks through frequent email, social media promotions and in-store events.

“The bookstore delivers an experience that rises above the typical retail transaction and acts as an active support system,” Buckingham said.

Sophomore music education major Sydney Allen said she buys all of her books from B&N College but only because she has not been informed of other places go.

“I find that schools attempt to get more money out of you by saying that there is no other option,” Allen said.

Nick Wilde, sophomore network security major, said he gets his books from Campus Book & Supply mainly because of the affordable prices through renting and buying.

Although it does not have programs like Barnes & Noble, Campus Book & Supply consistently offers cheaper prices compared to B&N College and students can compare textbook prices on the Campus website,

They said that their low prices can be attributed to the competitive market of selling college textbooks, mainly referring to their own competition, Barnes & Noble College on NKU’s campus.

Campus Book & Supply also said that by ordering books at the lowest price from their suppliers, they can then sell them to students at an affordable rate.

Additionally, students can bring their school schedules in and store associates will help them find the books they need and organize them together.

At the end of the semester, students can even sell their books back to the store for cash.

Chegg, a California based company, was still shown to be the least expensive even after adding shipping to the subtotal.

This website also offers a membership which includes 24/7 homework help from experts and more than 2,500 guided solutions for textbook problems in engineering, math, and science.

When students buy the membership, which is $14.99 monthly or $74.95 annually, they also receive access to more than two million question and answer posts that may help them with almost any subject.

Moreover, Chegg has plenty of coupon codes, discounts, and sales available when you sign up by email.

For example, right now they have a coupon for free shipping until September 9th when you have an order of $85 or more at

Other retailers that offer affordable deals for textbooks include Half Price Books, Book Renters, and Campus Book Rental.