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The Blue & Gray Press | August 17, 2017

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Bookstore tries out new price comparison tool

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By SARAH GRAMMER

The bookstore has added a new price comparison feature to their website this semester to help University of Mary Washington students with textbook purchases.

The new tool allows students to look up the textbooks they need for the upcoming semester, find the bookstore’s price for the textbooks and pull prices from five other book selling websites: Barnes and Noble, Amazon, Amazon Marketplace, Redshelf and Bookseller.

The new price comparison tool allows students to purchase their books from any of these websites with the click of a button.

“The price comparison feature is meant to help students weigh their purchasing options and make an informed decision,” bookstore manager DJ Garcia said. “This tool is aimed at helping our customers, the students, and highlights our commitment to our students’ success.”

Many new students at UMW said they have had positive experiences with the new price comparison feature so far. According to freshman biology major Natalie Allen, the tool was easy to use.

“[It is] a feature I would like them to keep available in the future,” Allen said.

However, some upperclassmen are voicing a different opinion about the new feature, having their experiences in the past years to compare it to.

“The system picked the highest Amazon price, so UMW would list a $20 book and the price comparison feature would say it was $1,200 on Amazon because some insane person had a dream,” junior English and education major Katie Deskins said.

Deskins said that she would then go onto Amazon to search for the book and find a much cheaper price, thus invalidating the work of the price comparison tool.

“It’s a great idea, but with all of the bookstore disclaimers, [such as] only guaranteed buybacks, and the fact that I still find cheaper books online, I think the tool needs improvement,” Deskins said.

While the price comparison feature seems to be getting mixed reviews, there is time for any improvements according to Garcia.

“We are currently in the process of updating our system and look forward to being able to better serve our students,” Garcia said.

Garcia said that the bookstore is also planning on making in-store rentals possible for students in the near future.

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