If I had a nickel for every time a student walked into the Midtown library expecting to buy a textbook, I’d have a pocketful of change. Why do they come to this place, where shelves are lined with so many books, yet I cannot sell them a single one? Doesn’t that sound like a bibliophile’s bad riddle? (OK. Here’s one. What do you get when a librarian tosses a billion books into the ocean? …A title wave!) No seriously, where is the bookstore?
If you are looking for a physical place that houses purchasable reading matter, you will be sorely disappointed*. Bookstores haven’t gone the way of the horse and buggy, but they are fewer and further in between. In real life, there are a diminishing number of large chain stores dedicated to selling general interest books. (Not so for independent specialty book shops, but I digress.) When a book store closes it can be a newsworthy event, particularly when the defunct store is the only one serving a neighborhood, or when it marks the end of business for an entire company. (There once was a Barnes and Noble store on Fifth Avenue dedicated to the selling of textbooks. It’s gone now, and no physical bookstore has taken its place. I dare you to walk down the street and locate a textbook to buy! ) Some lay the blame for the death of the bookstore directly upon online vendors (thanks for nothing, Amazon!), which offer timely delivery of merchandise at prices better than those of brick and mortar establishments. Just as patrons confuse libraries with bookstores, many customers consider bookstores to be libraries that allow coffee-drinking. That is not what they are. You don’t have to have an MBA to know that a business can’t survive without sales.
(*DISCLAIMER: Exceptions apply. Check with individual Touro locations for additional information regarding on-site bookstores.)
But this isn’t real life, it’s just college. So where is the bookstore? The same trends seen in the outside world are seen on campus. The bookstore is a business, and in many cases college bookstores have become unprofitable. When money is tight, who wouldn’t select a cheaper electronic textbook, delivered wirelessly, over a pricier print copy? Why not rent your text online when it is less expensive than buying it in a store? Consequently, college bookstores, once ubiquitous, are now an endangered species. If they do exist, they sell mostly school supplies and sweatshirts, without a book in sight. They are not even called “the college bookstore” anymore. Instead, they are merely known as “the college store”. For a librarian, this is sad. Taking the book out of bookstore is like taking the honey out of honeymoon (or the colon out of colonoscopy, but I digress).
So, are you still looking for the bookstore? Let me tell you how to find it online.
Go to the College homepage, www.touro.edu.
Click on Students.
Under “Campus Details,” select Bookstore.
You will be directed to the TextbookX.com site, Touro’s online vendor. Next, indicate that you are affiliated with Touro by clicking on “school”.
When you enter Touro , you will get Touro locations from which to select. Pick the correct one.
You can then use the “Find your Course” feature to search by school program. Since I’m at Midtown, I selected SGS.
You can then select the site and course.
In the alternative, you can enter the course name or number in the textbox found in the upper right of the page.
Display your results.
There are two recommended texts for the course Principles of Biology. New and used books are available directly from TextbookX. Those books listed as being available through the “marketplace” are sold by third party sellers (meaning private citizens, like you and me, who sell our own unwanted books on the site). It is no surprise that used books are cheaper than new ones. Books may be available in a variety of formats, which also has an impact on price. Typically, electronic versions are less expensive than print, and publishers may release a book in a cheaper unbound “binder version”. To keep this type of book organized, you will have to place it in a loose leaf, or some other sweet, stylish folder that allows you to express your individuality.
If you received a book voucher as part of your financial aid package it may be used for books and supplies sold by TextbookX, and even books sold through the marketplace. (Why not buy that previously used, gently highlighted book. The previous owner might have been super smart.) If your voucher does not cover the full cost of the books you need, be sure to check the prices at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, half , AbeBooks , Biblio and Alibris. Used books listed on those sites might cost you less out-of-pocket. If you happen to have any left-over voucher value, don’t let it go to waste, as it has an expiration date. Get something: a dictionary, a pencil, some school spirit. They owe it to you.
Also, don’t forget to check the Touro Library Catalog to see if we have a book for you to borrow.
Contributed by: Carol Schapiro, Librarian, Midtown Library