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Bookstore's online tool saves students on textbooks

August 13, 2012

Feet propped on a desk, clad in comfy sweats and hoodies, students can now seamlessly multitask their back-to-school to-do list and know that they are saving money - on textbooks anyway.

In the last year, the Colorado State University Bookstore saved students more than $6 million on textbooks and through its new price comparison software, the Bookstore plans to save students even more.

Offering the best textbook prices

Through continued determination and innovation, the CSU Bookstore shows students it cares about offering the best textbook prices along with making the entire textbook buying process more user-friendly. The bookstore’s online price comparison tool is the next step in a continued effort to advertise competitive prices and increase textbook affordability and accessibility for Colorado State University students.

“We’re doing everything we can to keep book prices as low as possible,” said Margaret Gearhart, assistant director of books at CSU Bookstore. “This software allows for a lot more flexibility with book prices on the shelf.”

Gearhart noted lowering textbook prices is an ongoing mission of the bookstore. Though it would be much easier to streamline the process and remove programs like book buyback and textbook scholarships, the bookstore remains a student-centered textbook provider. The online pricing tool allows students to easily and conveniently compare textbook prices from the CSU Bookstore with prices from other sites like and Through the online pricing tool, the CSU Bookstore will show students it is nationally competitive in textbook pricing.

It’s this great mission, along with a generous return policy, that makes senior political science major, Hannah Bruner, an ongoing customer. Bruner has purchased her textbooks from the CSU Bookstore for the last four years. This past January, she explored the online pricing tool and found it extremely easy to use. The software also reaffirmed her steadfast bookstore loyalty.

“I didn’t need many textbooks this past semester, and the textbooks I needed were cheaper [at the Bookstore] than anywhere else,” said Bruner.

Exemplary use of tool

Kurt Kaiser, returns specialist and special services coordinator at the Bookstore, has worked with this software at another university and says that the CSU Bookstore uses the online pricing tool in an exemplary way.

“This is the first store that I know of that is using this service to lower the price of textbooks to compete with other markets,” said Kaiser. Though the CSU Bookstore may not always have the absolute lowest prices, its commitment to students was proven by slashing $573,000 off textbook prices last spring.

Using the tool

Beginning Aug. 1, students can go to the bookstore website to access a copy of their fall semester classes. From there, they can choose to print out this list or proceed through the online pricing tool. Students can pull up a list of individual course materials and begin comparing prices. The top of the page will feature the new and used price of textbooks available through the Bookstore; below this, students can find listings of new, like-new, and used textbooks from online vendors. Textbooks can be added to the same online “cart.” Though each vendor will require a separate transaction, the software streamlines the process by taking students directly to each vendor’s website.

“It’s easy, it’s free, and they can access it from anywhere.” Gearhart joked, and added, “Students can even access the service in their jammies.”

In theme with the ease and convenience of the price comparison tool, textbooks purchased from the CSU Bookstore can be shipped or picked up in-house on campus, saving additional money on shipping costs. In addition, students wanting to pay for textbooks using their student account have the option of printing a list of course materials from the price comparison tool and embarking on a shopping adventure at the bookstore.

Contact: Doni Luckutt
Phone: (970) 491-1676