Marquette Wire

Sweeney’s director reflects on online ordering taking over the bookstore world

Students+browse+Bookmarq+for+required%2C+but+expensive%2C+textbooks.+Photo+by+Mike+Carpenter%2F+michael.carpenter%40marquette.edu
Students browse Bookmarq for required, but expensive, textbooks. Photo by Mike Carpenter/ michael.carpenter@marquette.edu

Students browse Bookmarq for required, but expensive, textbooks. Photo by Mike Carpenter/ michael.carpenter@marquette.edu

Students browse Bookmarq for required, but expensive, textbooks. Photo by Mike Carpenter/ michael.carpenter@marquette.edu

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Before online ordering, students would line up at BookMarq and Sweeney’s College Books to order and purchase textbooks for the semester. With the Internet now the primary destination for students to purchase textbooks, both bookstores on campus were impacted by the changing role of textbook purchasing.

Dan Brown, director of Sweeney’s, said he noticed the shift in people buying more books online and less in stores.

“Most of our sales are from textbooks, but we use social media more now for contests and giveaways to get kids coming through the door,” Brown said.

The beginning of each semester is Sweeney’s most chaotic time as students rush in to pick up textbooks.

Sweeney’s changed its business strategies in order to reach a larger portion of the student population. Brown said Sweeney’s sells Marquette apparel and classroom essentials as a way to create additional revenue. Sweeney’s also sends out promotional emails and monthly ads to Marquette student emails to remind them to purchase books at Sweeney’s.

Despite more online sales, students still go to Sweeney’s to pick up textbooks. Joseph Chirichigno, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, prefers picking up his textbooks from Sweeney’s because it is convenient and his friends shop there.

“It’s nice to order my books online and come grab them in stores,” Chirichigno said. “It’s one stop.”

Many students use the Internet to buy their books on websites such as Amazon, Textbooks.com or Chegg because the books are cheaper than buying from BookMarq or Sweeney’s. Meghan Brady, a senior in the College of Communication, buys her textbooks at Amazon and Chegg because it is easy and the cheapest option. If she needs to get a textbook that is only available at Marquette, she chooses to shop at Sweeney’s over BookMarq because of lower prices.

For one semester alone, textbooks can cost more than $600, making the recent trend of online textbook purchasing understandable. Marquette Central estimated that students spent an average of $1,008 on textbooks for the 2015-’16 school year.

Sweeney’s and BookMarq migrated toward online renting and buying to appeal to more students. The benefits of being able to order books online and pick them up in stores is something that Marquette students find easy and helpful.

“I think we will see more students placing textbook orders online,” Brown said. “We might need to adjust our business strategies further to keep up with more online changes.”

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