STAFF EDITORIAL: Finally! Bookmarq unleashes ISBNs

We commend BookMarq and’s decision to release textbook ISBNs in response to MUSG and student concerns.

The Tribune also urged the administration to publicize ISBNs in Jan. 13 2009’s editorial, “BookMarq should release textbook info.”

In accordance with the Higher Education Opportunity Act, Marquette and other universities must now publish ISBNs online.This allows students to verify which textbook they need without the guessing games.

Now students can more easily shop around for course materials online and at campus bookstores — which is great for students and their wallets. But while we’re glad to finally have ISBN access, this is only a step in the right direction.

Students hand over a pretty penny purchasing required textbooks — regardless of the purchasing source — only to receive a fraction of the cost in return at the end of the semester.

Though it is much easier to return books on campus, some students resort to selling their books online in hopes of a higher return.

Other universities, like University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and University of Wisconsin-Stout, provide students the option of renting books instead of buying them. Students pay a fee along with their tuition and can receive all of their course materials at a much lower cost than buying books through bookstores.

Marquette should consider offering these rental services if it would mean a sharp decrease in money spent on textbooks.

Cellophane-wrapped books are also repeat offenders. Course packages may be nice, but once opened, they are non-returnable.

We cannot only point a finger at the bookstores, however. Marquette’s administration needs to ensure that students have more clarity when textbook hunting.

Professors should consider which materials students really need, like whether a CD or supplementary Web site with a hefty price is necessary. We appreciate making supplementary materials available for a more thorough education, but it gets expensive, especially when that material isn’t used.

While campus bookstores BookMarq and Sweeney’s College Books are ideal for convenience, Internet purchasing and rental sites are adapting to user needs, making purchases and returns simpler and more affordable.

In order for our stores to maintain students’ loyalty, they need to stay competitive with online resources. We hope this greater sense of competition will give some incentive for BookMarq and Sweeney’s to lower prices.