Easy, affordable ways to get textbooks

With the beginning of the spring semester here, it can be difficult for students to get suitable textbooks quickly and reasonably priced.

Luckily some options make this task easier for everyone at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB).

The campus library is a great place to receive the help you may need in order to get everything required from a specific class.   

“Powell’s Books (the bookstore chain) is a great resource to find affordable books, as well as Amazon, but along with getting books, students can also get research help in the library,” said librarian Sarah Dahlen. “Meaning help with almost any aspect of research they’re doing for a paper.” 

Many students don’t know what the campus library can provide for them, Dahlen said, and how you can reserve textbooks there for their classes.  

Some professors will put your textbooks into the system where you can then just go to the front desk in the library and put in what class you’re taking then your books will pop up to reserve. 

“Something that can make things easier for students is CSUMB giving more of a renting option on textbooks because there wasn’t that option for me like on Amazon,” said fourth-year Ashley Tamayo.   

Many students need help getting books from the campus bookstore, but sometimes the books they need have been placed on backorder.

Having their books placed on backorder can lead to students not receiving textbooks on time and potentially getting behind in class.

“We go based on the professors, so the professors are the ones to send us what books are required for the upcoming semester,” said Eduardo Casarubias, a fourth-year employee at the CSUMB bookstore. 

“We proceed to ask them how many copies are needed and when the professors don’t specify the amount or quantity, we just estimate, which can then lead to backorders happening because we couldn’t order enough due to lack of communication from the professors,” said Casarubias. 

Due to this, the bookstore has to take longer on some orders, which can mean some students are left without textbooks for a while longer. 

“Another problem is that specifically when it comes to first-years, they come in looking for books and if they can’t find it, they leave, but most of the time we have alternative options,” said Casarubias.

“Some examples could be digital versions,”  he said. “We also have an option where they can just special order as well at the store and they can then receive their book when it comes in.”

Through their time on campus, some students have found what worked best for them and what to avoid when it’s time to purchase textbooks. 

“Definitely wait until you actually get to class before ordering textbooks because some professors will have it on the syllabus and will end up saying you don’t need it or will provide it for you,” said fourth-year transfer student Kat Sanchez. 

The change in the bookstore’s location from the University Center (by the World Theater) to the ground floor of the Otter Student Union has appeared to be helpful since it’s not on the far side of campus anymore and the foot traffic has increased. 

“I’ve been working here at the bookstore since my freshman year, and we had trouble then since it was farther away from campus to now where it’s on the main campus for everyone to have access,” said Casarubias. 

The bookstore is more convenient when it’s right in front of you rather than ordering on Amazon or other websites that aren’t through the campus.  

“I go to the on-campus bookstore to get my books and I usually stick with the used option just to make it more affordable, ” said first-year Nick Barbaccia. 

“Ordering online was made very easy through the bookstore website. You just schedule a day to pick it up and they’ll have it there for you sometimes [as quickly as] the next day,” said Barbaccia.

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