Students spend less on textbooks as prices rise

Student spending on textbooks has declined over the last four years from an average of $702 to $655 annually according to a study conducted by OnCampus Research, a division of the National Association of College Stores.

“As we are working with publishers on price negotiation, making custom items and getting rid of hardcovers we are able to get a better price for textbooks,” said Owl Bookshop manager Eric Magallon.

However, Magallon said that the prices at the Bookshop have actually increased due to a publisher price hike.

Research suggests that as prices climb, students are adapting to the change by buying books from other students, online from websites like and, or skipping the buying process altogether and renting them.

The first week of the semester is the best time to buy and sell books, since both supply and demand are at their peaks. The book buyback program is also available to students who want to sell their used books.

The Book Buyback tents will operate just outside of the Bookshop Aug. 30-31 and Sept. 10-11, beginning at 9 a.m.

Students are looking in different places and using online resources to find better prices for the materials they need.

“I try to cut back on spending as much as I can,” said student Kyle Garza, who still likes to have the latest edition of textbooks. “I use the Owl Bookshop to buy my books.”

“Profits from the bookstore help pay for services on campus,” said Magallon, who pointed out some of the advantages of buying textbooks at the Bookshop. “We have a refund policy available and mark downs on textbooks that need to be unloaded.”

The Owl Bookshop also offers textbook rentals through its website:

“I tend to rent books,” said nursing major Jordon Lowndes. “If I don’t have the money, I wait until I’m able to use my Cal Grant to buy the book.”

Others use online resources to find a better price on textbooks.

“I buy books online, or anywhere I can find them at a better price,” said art major Christina Osuna. “I don’t like selling them because you don’t get what you pay for them. They change all the time, so I just build my own library. With this economy you have to look everywhere to save a buck.”

Other students use financial services that are available to them such as Extended Opportunity Programs and Services and Financial Aid.

“I buy my books through the aid that I get from EOP&S,” said student Roberto Villagomez. “I buy them used to save money.”

Many textbooks are on reserve in the Citrus College library. Texts for most general education courses are available for a two-hour period on site.

“A lot of students use the reserved books,” said library media assistant Carmen Mexia. “They are able to use the textbooks they need when they don’t have the money. It makes it hard when they have to compete for a book in a limited amount of time.”

The Hayden Memorial Library has a small selection of books available to check out for a three-week period, renewable once.

“Use the material you buy,” said Magallon. “Find out how the educational material is going to be used.”