In time for the spring semester, the University of Hawai'i Bookstores is helping its customers to compare its textbook prices with well-known online retailers.
According to Student Watch 2013, a study by the National Association of College Stores Foundation, nearly 70 percent of students regularly compare book prices online.
UH's new comparison tool gives its students at all ten campuses across the state the convenience of viewing all their textbook options with a single search on their campus bookstore's website.
"The common belief is that the university bookstore is always more expensive than competitors such as Amazon.com or Half.com," said Tricia Ejima, Assistant Director of UH Manoa’s Campus Services. "There are more than 350 other college bookstores now using the same digital comparison tool, and they tell us that once presented with this transparent environment, more than 85 percent of their customers choose to shop at their campus store."
Using a state-of-the-art software system, students visit the website of their campus bookstore and enter the course and section in which they’re enrolled. What follows is a user-friendly display of their required textbooks in available formats (new, used, rental, digital), with accompanying prices from the UH Bookstores, as well as five to seven of the top e-tailers.
Customers can compare costs, the condition of books, arrival dates, and return policies, then add their selections to their online shopping cart where they can make a single purchase. As an added convenience and to save students from standing in line during the traditional "rush" week, textbooks purchased from the UH Bookstores are available for home delivery or pick up at their campus store.
"One-stop comparison shopping is just one of the ways our bookstores help our busy students make smart choices," Ejima continues. "Our growing textbook rental program gives them upfront savings; buyback gives them immediate cash for books they no longer need. We also work with our faculty to be sure we’re able to offer the most competitive prices by ordering the correct editions as early as possible before the start of every semester. Our campus stores are keeping pace with our communities' needs and proud to be a resource they can count on for everything from apparel to Apple computer repairs, and more."