BYU’s ‘mybooklist’ makes buying textbooks more convenient

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Mybooklist displays multiple sources for students to purchase their books besides BYU. The BYU Store wants students to have as many options for textbooks to get the best price. (BYU Universe)

Students are saving more money on course materials this semester by using BYU Store’s mybooklist web page to compare prices with other distributors.

The BYU store’s hope is to have every student use mybooklist to purchase textbooks, whether from the BYU Store itself, or another distributor featured on the webpage.

“The BYU booklist provides students with more flexibility and less time spent searching for their textbook,” said BYU Academic Resources Manager Tom Hirtzel.

The National Association of College Stores said they believe the software will help students at other universities save money and help simplify the university textbook selling process, according to Hirtzel.

Hirtzel explained that a software company called Sidewalk Hero, located in Salt Lake City, also showed an interest in the booklist software by purchasing the rights to use the software for their own bookstore.

One of the key factors that interests Sidewalk Hero is the functionality it has with faculty. Faculty members are given exclusive access to edit and change course materials required for classes.

“In the past, the department would have to make textbook requests for each course individually,” Hirtzel said.”The software gives access for faculty members to edit and change what course materials are required for their classes, making it easier to make changes when professors edit their course.”

Distributors such as Amazon and Half.com have been shown on the website to give students the best option for their money along with the BYU Store. Hirtzel said textbooks are often the same price or even lower than other distributors when compared with offers from other places.

He mentioned that the development of the software has been improving each year since the Spring of 2011. He said new innovations are being developed to make it easier for students to shop from the BYU Store. One of the most recent developments is textbook sell-backs.

Hirtzel also said the recent trend in textbook sales is renting. Many online distributors, like Amazon, give the option to rent textbooks. BYU began to give that option last year for students to rent books instead of buying them. The demand for renting textbooks have gone up in the last few years.

Some students say BYU Store prices still don’t match those that Amazon and others have to offer despite the improvements to the textbook purchasing process.

“The bookstore site offers convenience. When it comes down to it, I want the cheapest prices,” said Jared Patten, senior at BYU. “That’s why I generally prefer online retailers for my books.”

Another senior, Blake Dastrop, provided his views concerning the textbook prices at BYU.

“Books from the bookstore are without exception more expensive than books from Amazon,” Dastrop said.

BYU store employees know many students, including Patten and Dastrop, who are not satisfied with the prices the bookstore has to offer, but student satisfaction has increased for BYU as the software provides students the option for other textbook purchasing choices.

“The publishers have control over what the price is for their textbook, not us,” Hirtzel said. “We want the students to know that we don’t set the prices for the textbooks. We try to give each student as many options as possible when buying books. We understand that textbook prices are an issue with most students and by providing them with other sources, it gives them the best option while giving us some compensation as well.”

The BYU store receives a small percentage of sales that are made when students use the links to purchase books on Amazon or other places, according to Hirtzel.

“We receive a small compensation when a student goes to the Amazon page through mybooklist and purchases a textbook from there,” Hirtzel said. “Online, you can see what books can be sold back to BYU and what the asking price is. Our goal is to be open and transparent about what we will offer for the books, giving students the option to sell somewhere else.”

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