Wildcats choose where to buy knowledge

Pat Pearson

As NMU is in the third week of the winter semester, the checkout lines to buy textbooks at the NMU bookstore have thinned out and so have students’ patience with the textbook prices.

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The NMU bookstore is a self-supportive business.

This means they are able to sell textbooks and merchandise for more than what they paid for them, according to bookstore management.

They also determine the cost of the textbooks they sell based upon global market prices.

Mike Kuzak, the NMU bookstore manager, said the campus bookstore is like any other business that has to meet its margin.

“We have to make our margin to pay our expenses, to pay our salaries, rent, telephone, computer expenses,” Kuzak said.

“Just like any store downtown and all college bookstores around the country, we need to make money to pay expenses.”

The bookstore almost exclusively buys used textbooks and is one of the largest used textbook stores in the nation, according to Kuzak.

The supposed high cost of textbooks at the NMU bookstore has made some students turn to other textbook sellers for potentially better deals.

Students utilizing technology for their required course material are using mobile devices, such as laptops and tablets, for cheaper deals on ebooks.

Senior photography major Jenna Thompson said she stopped shopping at the bookstore because she prefers using her Amazon Kindle tablet.

“I can get a better deal on my tablet, which I prefer using anyways,” Thompson said. “It’s usually 70 percent cheaper on my kindle than what I’d pay here.”

The bookstore is located in the University Center building.

Senior communications studies major Mike Marzinelli said though the textbook prices are high, the convenience of the bookstore makes his purchases worth the cost.

“The cost of some of my textbooks can be pretty unreasonable,” Marzinelli said.

“But since the books are organized by course numbers, I can get everything I need for the semester in one stop.”

Students who buy their course materials from textbook retailers online will run into other costs. This includes the cost of shipping, both the additional shipping fees and the time it takes to receive the book.

Freshman environmental studies and sustainability major Jared Vanoordt said the overall amount he saves per textbook is worth the wait to receive them.

“I learned my lesson first semester,” Vanoordt said.

“From now on I’ll just buy my books online and play the waiting game until they get here. I’ve got friends, I can just borrow theirs until mine arrive if I really need to.”

What makes buying textbooks such a negative experience according to Kuzak is that these books are required course materials and students are being told they have to buy these books.

“I’ll compare it to buying prescription medication,” Kuzak said. “I think they’re over priced and I don’t want to ever buy prescription medication, but I am being told I have to, so it’s never a pleasant experience buying something you’re told you need.”

Kuzak said the NMU bookstore staff is always working and relying on their technology to find the best deals for a mutually beneficial relationship with the student body.