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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA store matches prices on textbooks

Juni Nelson
Juni Nelson / Arizona Daily Wildcat Students line up to obtain refunds for their new textbooks. Lines grew throughout the day to obtain the extra money.

Textbook suppliers catering to UA students may have met their match in the UofA Bookstore.

A revision to the bookstore’s Lowest Price Guarantee pits the bookstore’s price-matching service against online retailers in addition to UA-area bookstores.

After buying a textbook from the bookstore, students have one week to find a cheaper price online and collect the difference in cash. Verification of the lower price can be printed or shown to the cashier via a mobile device. Peer-to-peer selling is excluded and books must have the same cover and be of the same condition. Only required or recommended textbooks are eligible.

“It’s pretty straight forward,” said Kurtis Durfey, marketing specialist for the UofA Bookstore. Durfey said the service was introduced to tie together the low prices of online merchants without forcing students to wait for a mail arrival or pay for shipping.

Rachel Underwood, a junior studying Spanish, said the service would not impact her significantly because she buys most of her textbooks through online peer-to-peer selling. Shopping at the bookstore is a last resort, she said.

“Their prices are ludicrously high and their buy-back rates are ludicrously low,” she said.

Durfey emphasized that the bookstore is working in the interest of students, not against themBook prices and buy back rates are dependent on a number of factors, including publisher pricing and student enrollment.

“We’re not a private enterprise that’s leasing the space on campus and sending revenue to the shareholders in Connecticut,” he said. “Everything we do is with the benefit of the student in mind.”

The bookstore is a division of Student Affairs and exists to serve the student population, Durfey said. After covering costs like operating, labor and inventory, the rest of the money is circulated back into campus.

The bookstore annually contributes more than $790,000 to support the Associated Students of the University of Arizona and student clubs and organizations and nearly $15,000 for UA student and bookstore employee scholarships.

Underwood said she appreciates the work the bookstore does for campus, but would like to see the detailed documents for herself.

“They can’t just say ‘it goes back to the university’ and not tell you where,” she said. “For all I know they could be paying the $2 million to our basketball coach.”

Kayleigh Orozco, a sophomore studying pre-physiology and psychology, said she shops at the bookstore because it’s convenient and she knows they will have what she wants. Orozco said she appreciates the new guarantee and would like to see the bookstore contribute more money to lowering the cost of tuition through scholarships and other services.

“The campus is already nice,” she said. “We need lower tuition.”
Arizona Bookstore, a privately owned business located at 845 N. Park Ave, offers price matching with local competitors, but not online retailers.

Mike Lammers, the store’s manager, said he was not worried about losing business to the UofA Bookstore as a result of their revision. Arizona Bookstore has excellent customer service and students appreciate it, he added. Lammers said Arizona Bookstore tries to beat the UofA Bookstore’s on prices but could not provide specific numbers.

He said Arizona Bookstore will consider online price matching in the future.

“People forget about that bookstore,” Orozco said. “The customer service is really good, but it’s on the outskirts of campus and people don’t go there as much.”

The UofA Bookstore, however, retains the right to “change the details of this offer at any time,” according to the bookstore website. Durfey said the reservation is in place to add improvements to things like customer service. Students should not worry about the service being repealed because of a loss of money by the bookstore, he said.

Durfey said it was too early to tell how the service would affect revenue, but he expects the bookstore to at least break even. He said success will be determined by the number of students that take advantage of the guarantee.

“I encourage you to price shop, especially now with this new offer,” Durfey said. “There’s really no reason to go anywhere else.”

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