In an age where e-books are flourishing like never before, some are questioning the usefulness of bookstores. Such is the case with the UNB Bookstore — where students are increasingly turning to alternate methods of acquiring their textbooks.
While the UNB Bookstore carries UNB’s name, its operation is actually contracted to the Follett Higher Education Group, a for-profit corporate subsidiary.
An informal survey by the Brunswickan, however, found a difference of opinion when it came to buying books, with some students foregoing it entirely — turning to piracy to save costs. While most students surveyed acquired their books through legal means, they differed on where the books came from, with Amazon.com proving to be the top choice.
“It’s a lot cheaper, honestly. I figured I’d rather wait a few days for something that’s cheaper than having something more expensive right away,” said arts student Bethany Langmaid.
The alternate ways of getting textbooks are affecting the UNB Bookstore. While Nowlan would not specifically address the bookstore’s finances, she did speak to how they are addressing the growing demand for digital alternatives.
“I can say that [these factors] are reflected in our campus store operation,” she said.
“Specifically, we continue to see more students ordering course materials, supplies, general merchandise and more through our online storefront. However, the majority of today’s demand is still attributed to printed materials.”
Nowlan also said that textbook rental and in-store pickup were the most popular options among students.
Students who still support the bookstore, however, cite its convenience and the ease of exchanging or refunding texts.
“It’s more convenient to use the UNB Bookstore simply because if a professor changes their mind regarding what text they want to use, then you have easy access to switch it out or get a new book,” said St. Thomas University student Ben Lord.
Nowlan believes that people will always find a reason to come to the bookstore.
“The demand is still for printed materials. Students like to have that physical text,” she said. “Our digital sales will increase as more become available, but I don’t see it wiping out the printed book.”