You have checked and double checked, packed and repacked. You have been school shopping, grocery shopping and clothes shopping. You might even have a list that you will check again (that makes twice) before you take off for school. You’re all set. Except for when those pesky classes start and you actually have to learn.
Fortunately, all the information you will need for your classes has been conveniently bound into one location: textbooks. You are already paying an arm and a leg or two for tuition, and many find themselves surrendering both arms in the aftermath of textbook shopping. There’s no doubt that textbooks are expensive, but you can save yourself a little bit of money if you know what all your options are, and are willing to do a little leg work – assuming you still have both after paying tuition. Once you have all the information, you can decide what works best for you.
BookMarq is the university owned and operated bookstore located just north of the Annex on 16th Street, the same street that McCormick Hall is on. Textbooks are always in abundance, and the convenience of being able to order your books online is very appealing to many students. Bookmarq’s central location makes them very accessible to students on campus and if you order your books online, you can have them shipped to your home or pick them up at the store. The academic sections and books are well marked and easy to find.
BookMarq does not provide this level of convenience and ease for free; prices tend to be slightly higher than the alternatives. Students who choose the campus bookstore generally do so for convenience. “When I have to take my business to a campus bookstore, I take it to BookMarq because I can use my Marquette Cash there,” said Amanda Wolff, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. BookMarq’s number is (414) 288-7317.
Sweeney’s: If students are not willing to pay for that level of convenience, but do not want to look off campus, they generally head to Sweeney’s. Located on the corner of Wisconsin and 17th streets, Sweeney’s is campus’s independently owned bookstore. Prices are generally cheaper, but books are harder to find and not always readily available.
Sweeney’s tries to make their main customer the student and not the University, as they argue BookMarq does. Sweeney’s will be relocating after the fall semester to 14th and Wells streets, a location that used to be a Chinese restaurant, if any of you were curious about the pagoda over the front door. Their store hours for August are Monday-Friday 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. For more information about Sweeney’s or to order books online, click here.
Online Options: Many students are beginning to explore alternatives to campus bookstores. Online textbook shopping has exploded in the past couple of years, with more and more students trying to save any amount of money they can. Some popular sites include Amazon.com, half.com, textbooks.com, barnesandnoble.com and chegg.com to name a few. “[Chegg.com] has definitely become my favorite,” said Wolff. Chegg.com is a book rental site that rents books to students for the semester, then takes the books back with no return shipping charged. Many students, however, are weary to try online options because of the security risk involved; students are afraid that books will never be shipped or they might receive the wrong edition.
Whether you buy at BookMarq or Sweeney’s, Barnes and Noble or Amazon, almost everyone suggests shopping around a little bit before pulling the trigger. “Wait until after the first day of classes to buy your books,” said Andrew Schueller, a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences. “A few times a ‘required’ book wasn’t needed at all, so wait until your teacher personally hands you a book list and then buy those.”
So no matter where you buy from, it is important to explore all your options first, and hopefully buying books doesn’t have to be too painful.