MARQUETTE - When shopping for college textbooks at the beginning of the semester you can expect to pay anywhere from 75 cents to $260, depending on where you shop.
Luckily, several local businesses are available for students and parents looking for help with back-to-school textbook shopping.
Students First, located at 502 W. Washington St., specializes in used books. Owner Tim Weingarten said they can also get students new books if they are requested.
Books line the shelves at Students First. Students First and the Northern Michigan University Bookstore are two local sources for college textbooks. (Journal photo by Christopher Diem)
He said students can save up to 40 percent on the purchase price of their books by going to Students First.
"The condition of our used books is really good. Most of them don't have highlighting in them. Some of them do. We let students look at them before they purchase them and they can choose the best copy," he said.
Whether students stop in or use the business's website, www.studentsfirstbooks.com, Weingarten said he and his staff will help them find the books they need.
"We wait on each customer that comes in and we bring their books to them so that there's not a lot of time spent wandering around wondering if they have the right book," he said. "Here we try to have people in and out in five minutes."
Weingarten said used books in the store usually cost anywhere from $20 to $140. For those students who want or need new editions of text books, Weingarten suggested waiting until after classes have started.
"New editions are extremely hard to get used ahead of time," he said. "If students wait a week all these used copies are available the first week of September. But everyone in the country wants the same books so it's rough."
The Northern Michigan University Bookstore, located on NMU's campus, is another option. The business offers textbooks, school supplies, study guides, NMU apparel, backpacks, laptop bags, computer accessories and software.
Paul Wright, assistant manager at the store, said they guarantee the books they sell.
"We guarantee it's going to be the right book," he said. "You'll be able to bring it back and exchange it if, for some reason, you bought the wrong book. We have the books in stock right now. You don't have to worry about waiting for shipping or wondering if you're going to get the right thing. We also have hundreds of specially priced books which are competitive with online prices."
Wright said the store's stock of textbooks is about 60 percent used and 40 percent new. Prices for new and used books range anywhere from 75 cents to $260.
He said students can order their books online at www.nmubookstore.com.
"We're also renting a lot of books now," Wright said. "We started a pilot program last year with a few dozen titles. This year we have over 400 titles we're renting. Students can rent those for about 40 percent of the new price of the book so that can potentially save them a lot of upfront cost as well."
He said students can do a little bit of highlighting and marking in the books they rent but the book has to be in good used condition when returned.
"They can't let their dog chew on it or throw it in a puddle or anything. Then they have to pay for it," he said.
To rent books, Wright said students need a valid credit card and have to bring the book back no later than Dec. 19.
Christopher Diem can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.