University News

Bookstore offers RISD courses’ textbooks

Contributing Writer
Monday, September 24, 2012

The Brown Bookstore has expanded its textbook selection to include Rhode Island School of Design course books this semester and will also expand its rental program to include books not designated for courses, said Steven Souza, director of the bookstore.
RISD books currently take up almost 20 percent of the total number of books available in the store since the policy was implemented, Souza said. He added that some RISD faculty still have not sent in their book lists, and when they do, the bookstore will add them to its current selection.
RISD students could previously only buy their books online or at the RISD store downtown on North Main Street.
“It was so convenient. … Instead of having to go downtown to buy my course material, I just went to the Brown Bookstore,” said Rhea Belani, a first-year at RISD.
The bookstore will profit from selling books for RISD courses, Souza said. “We’re up thousands of dollars every day thanks to the RISD books.”
RISD students have the option of purchasing their books in person or ordering them from the bookstore online, Souza said, adding, “We ship van loads of books to RISD mailboxes.”
The bookstore’s policy regarding RISD books differs from current policy for Brown books. Students cannot currently rent books for RISD courses,  and the store has a limited selection of used RISD books, Souza said.
“With RISD students, things are a little different,” Souza said. “We have no access to their accounts, and so that makes renting the books out to them difficult. They pay a little more for the books initially, but they recover some of their money in the buyback” at the end of the semester.
The store is also currently trying to expand its number of used RISD textbooks, but Souza said he expects the bulk of these will come from buyback at the end of the semester. He added that the bookstore will follow the same policy for RISD used books as for Brown ones, offering the books at almost 75 percent of the original price.
Though the bookstore offers guaranteed buyback for RISD books, some students found their course books to be overpriced.
“My only complaint regarding the bookstore is that their RISD books are quite expensive,” said Grace Yoon ’16, a dual degree student. “I ended up spending more on my RISD books than on my Brown course textbooks.”
The bookstore plans to expand its rental program beyond course books in coming months.
“We’re going to be renting out a broad spectrum of books,” Souza said. By next semester, the bookstore will offer a large number of books for rent that are not for courses including those in the classics and early literature sections, Souza said.  Students looking to supplement their course reading in these departments with other related materials will greatly benefit from such a program. “Students will be able to read the book and just drop it off at the counter,” Souza said.
Novels that usually cost $10 to $15 in paperback will be rented out at the bookstore for not more than $3 to $4, he added. “It may not be cheaper than ordering books off Amazon, but it is certainly more convenient. With our new policies in place, the price margin between ordering the books on Amazon and buying them at the bookstore is very little,” he said.
“It’s hard to say how much the bookstore will profit from such a venture,” Souza said. “It usually takes three to four rentals before we recover the cost.” .

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