The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Monday August 15th

A textbook case

Textbook prices high because of industry markup; purchasing them from Student Stores bene?ts aid

Textbooks, wherever you buy them, are incredibly expensive. And at Student Stores, the prices are a bit higher still.

But that doesn’t mean there’s not good reason for it, nor that we should abandon buying books there.

It’s important to recognize that the main reason for the absurdly high textbook prices has to do with industry standards — not just Student Stores’ markup.

It’s often just assumed that Student Stores is doing a disservice to students by having higher prices.

But all the profit they make goes directly into easing the financial burden that college places on students.

It’s more than worth the cost.

Many students might not realize why they can’t purchase books at Student Stores for the same price they pay for them on Franklin Street. But it’s something they need to appreciate.

Student Stores has different obligations than the textbook businesses on Franklin Street. The University levies a 2 percent fee on its revenues, and all profits go toward need-based student aid.

And John Jones, the director of Student Stores, said the stores can’t afford to lower their prices anymore without losing money.

None of that eases the frustration of having to pay more for books.

But students should appreciate that their purchases from Student Stores have a direct impact on the University community.

The stores contribute about $1 million a year to scholarships, Jones said.

And even though the books might seem more expensive, Jones said that Student Stores uses the normal industry-standard markup for their prices — about 30 percent.

This warrants a re-evaluation of how students look at the textbook prices at Student Stores.

Student Stores isn’t intentionally keeping prices high for no reason.

So next time you’re deciding where to buy books, remember what you’re supporting in the process.

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