SHU talks textbooks, prices and requirements

The start of each semester comes with the reminder of having to purchase new supplies. While students sometimes reuse notebooks and folders to save a few dollars, there is always one item that is difficult to avoid purchasing every semester: textbooks.

Alexandra Torres/Staff Photographer

However, many Seton Hall students have said that purchasing textbooks for class can sometimes be a waste of money.

Ani Shahinian, a sophomore diplomacy major, explained that even though the textbooks are listed as required texts, there is always at least one book each semester that she does not end up reading at all.

“I always wait until the first day of class and find out if each book is necessary, which sometimes upsets the professor if you need the reading done by the first week, but they usually understand,” Shahinian said. “I don’t want to spend money on books that I do not need because they can get very expensive.”

Ronald Babiak, a sophomore finance major, said, “The school encourages you to buy books that are written by professors here. It seems like a great way for the school, the bookstore and the professors that write the book to make money. Yet to pay so much for a book you’ll never use, no matter where it comes from, is kind of ridiculous.”

Some SHU students said they find themselves torn between spending money on a textbook that comes of no use for them or being unprepared for the first few weeks of class in an effort to save money. “Sometimes you don’t know that you’re not going to use the book,” Babiak said. “It’s part of the process.”

There are options for students to get the most out of their buck, such as renting books, purchasing books from other sources besides the bookstore and selling their books when they have finished.

Babiak said there are multiple ways students can save on textbooks, such as checking their class Facebook group, where many students sell used textbooks for lower prices. He added that there are many websites like Amazon that are popular for selling used books at lower prices.

Arthur Adriano, a sophomore history major, said that he has resorted to renting the majority of his textbooks. “What helps me the most is renting books that do not pertain to my major,” Adriano said.

“But as a history major, I only buy books that I know are relevant to my history courses because I will end up referring to them in my career.”

Lisa Fisher, an instructor in the English department, said, “I personally make sure if a book is on the required list that I tell students how to use it.”

Fisher explained that she understands how students may feel in the instance that a book is never touched. “I keep that in mind,” Fisher said. “If I say a textbook is required, [students] should use it for their benefit. Some books are used for class discussion and others are necessary as a reference book – if they didn’t have it, it would be a problem [throughout the course].”

Elise Kerim can be reached at

Author: Staff Writer

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