Bookstore prices addressed

When a new semester starts at Santa Monica College, the daunting sight of students waiting in line to purchase textbooks and school materials at the bookstore is familiar.

Students who work toward good grades know that textbooks are a necessity, but that has not made students like Mel Rudkiewicz any happier about spending $400 each semester on textbooks.

Many students like Rudkiewicz associate the bookstore with high costs. The guidelines for textbooks differ among departments. For example, the department of modern languages has agreed that the textbooks should be consistent throughout the department to alleviate spending.

"There have been situations where the prices have been too high, and the department has said 'no' to buying the book," said Jeanne Laurie, administrative assistant for the department of modern languages.

According to Laurie, the publisher printed the books in paperback, which enabled lower prices of the books.

In other departments, different textbooks are required depending on the teacher and the level of the course.

"I don't think our goal in the bookstore is to make a profit," Board of Trustees member Rob Rader said. "Rather, we are merely trying to break even and provide a place where students can conveniently obtain their materials."

Students who switch to alternate options, such as purchasing online books or used copies from students, are not supporting on-campus job opportunities, according to the bookstore manager David Dever. A quarter of the bookstore's margin profit goes to pay for student wages, shipping costs and operation maintenance.

The bookstore is one of the few places where international students have the opportunity to work.

"We are like a big family here," operations assistant Karen Lehman said. "There is so much more to this place than selling books."

Supporting fellow students is important, but another positive aspect about the bookstore is that purchased textbooks are of dependable quality.

The books I have purchased from SMC have been better quality than those I have bought online, which is why I prefer to purchase my school material from the bookstore.

The bookstore also provides the convenience of an on-campus location that has everything a student would need for their SMC education. Although it seems some students make it a priority to complain about the bookstore, it would be severely missed if it were shut down.

Whether it is the job opportunities or the effort to provide textbooks to make education more simple, the SMC bookstore does what is best for the students and should be acknowledged and supported by the students.