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Monday, June 17, 2024

Research, planning can save bucks on books

As a new student, saving money on textbooks can be tough.

But stick around Gainesville long enough and knowing when to buy, where to buy and what to buy becomes second nature.

A number of bookstores in town compete for students' dollars by offering an abundance of books, coupons or deferment - a buy now, pay later option.

Tom Rider, co-owner of Goerings Book Store, said he owns a mom-and-pop operation where students can always count on good service.

"When we're asked questions, we have the answers," said Rider, whose store opened in the fall of 1971.

The store carries books mainly for liberal arts and sciences majors, and the selection is organized by teacher.

He said because students are price-conscious, the store offers deferment and, when possible, low-priced used books.

Kenneth Roberts, owner of Orange & Blue Textbooks, another independently owned bookstore, said his store carries a high percentage of used books, which are less expensive than new books.

And OBT carries books for any UF class that teachers have listed requirements for on ISIS, Roberts said.

At the end of the semester, most bookstores will buy back books for a portion of the price paid.

Roberts said there are always better times than others to bring books in for buyback.

"Right after Thanksgiving in the fall is a good time," he said. "Another great time is right before the beginning of the term because then we have the most information about what we need."

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Mike Bibbee, textbook manager for the Florida Book Stores, said he carries almost everything on ISIS and price checks about 250 titles with other stores in Gainesville.

"I make sure we have the lowest price on the first day of classes," said Bibbee, who will also match other bookstores' lowest prices.

Other ways students can save at the store is by reserving books ahead of time and using Gator Greenbacks coupons, he said.

Like Roberts, Bibbee said certain times of the semester are better for making sure bookstores will buy back a textbook or give a higher price.

"The best time for prices is the week before exams," he said. "We're still looking for everything at that point."

Bibbee advises new students to reserve early and shop before classes start for the best chance at finding used books.

Lynne Vaughan, director of the UF Bookstore, said the textbook business is a competitive market, but the university tries to do its best with offering fair prices.

Some students choose to skip bookstores altogether.

Terri Cronin, a UF nursing junior, said if her professor has provided the book to the library, she prefers to save her money and use the reserve copy.

"You can check them out for two hours at a time when you need it, but you can't bring it home," Cronin said.

Still, it saves money, she said.

Carolina Toro, a UF elementary education junior, said she likes to make a deal with someone who has already taken the class.

"It's a cheaper way to buy," Toro said. "They make more money than selling it back to a bookstore, and you get it cheaper than buying a used book."

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