ASU discontinues bookstore rental discount program

By Brian Boyle, Spotlight Editor

A program that made renting certain required textbooks for popular class sections cheaper for students, sponsored by the Associated Students Union, will not be continuing this year.

“Many students, myself included, aren’t buying (textbooks) from the Bookstore,” ASU President Antone Agnitsch said. “A lot are going to Amazon (for their textbooks).”

Agnitsch said he is currently having problems gathering data from the Bookstore over the effectiveness of the program, which was started by former ASU president Ysrael Condori. Agnitsch said the program was ineffective largely because the way it was designed.

“The way it worked, I just learned, was we (the ASU) just gave money to the Bookstore and they lowered the prices of some books,” Agnitsch said. “It just looks like a waste of $15,000.”
Agnitsch said he is also having problems getting necessary data from Condori.

One such student, toxicology major Kent Mamongay, said he goes to Amazon and even browsed numerous EBay pages in order to find a cheaper way to purchase his books.

“Some of my books this semester cost $300,” Mamongay said. “(The ASU) should do what they can to lower prices for books, so students shop at the Bookstore. That way (students) get cheaper books and the school still gets some money.”

Physical therapy major Tory Wilkerson said he is also worried about the growing cost of books.
“We need books,” Wilkerson said. “Anything that helps students get them is a good idea.”

Mamongay said driving students toward the Bookstore, instead of online shops, allows students to get their supplies in time for classes.

“If I buy from the Bookstore, I have my books,” Mamongay said. “If I buy online, I have to wait for it to be delivered.”

Last year, Condori was quoted by The Advocate in the Sept. 18 issue as saying the ASU had planned to donate $15,000 to the discount program in the fall semester, but was only able to donate $5,000.

Condori said his board would donate a total of $20,000 the following semester. The ASU only managed to donate $10,000 in the spring semester.

Condori said at the end of last school year, the ASU looked at the book rental program and decided that not enough students were using it. He said that, by the end of spring semester, the ASU had discounted books in psychology, history and pre-calculus as well as other math sections.

According to Condori, the program was targeted at specific class sections, which were in a consistent high demand, that had relatively expensive textbooks.

Bookstore lead Darris Crear said that he could not comment on the overall effectiveness of the discount program.

“I helped the students I helped with it,” Crear said. “It wasn’t exactly marketed toward any individual group of students.”

Agnitsch said that if the ASU did not reconsider the decision to not repeat the rental discount program, then the money would likely be funneled into offering students the chance to win scholarships offered through the ASU.