AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – Beginning in May, UMass Amherst will make it easier and more affordable for students to buy textbooks.
UMass Amherst has contracted with Amazon.com to replace its traditional on-campus book store with a virtual bookstore. Students could save 30%, about $380 per year.
“You’re saving money, you know,” says Taylor Marrs, a junior at UMass Amherst. “It helps kids out financially with the start of the semester and all of the different expenses they have so, I definitely think this is a great thing happening.”
Starting in May, students can order new, used, rental, or digital books through Amazon or through links on the university’s website. This will be Amazon’s first online university store in the Northeast and its 3rd nationwide.
Traditionally, students come to the Textbook Annex to find some of the books that they need. But now that UMass Amherst has a 5 year contract with Amazon, these books shipped for free, either here to the campus or to local addresses. The Textbook Annex will be replaced by a staffed Amazon pick-up location in the Campus Center.
Textbook Annex workers declined to speak with 22News.
Some students see a danger in having Amazon services.
Graduate student Gordon Clark told 22News, “Hopefully then smaller businesses, especially around town, that are certainly other viable options, they don’t get undercut by large conglomerates such as Amazon.”
Others are happy to finally have cheaper books.
“I’ve gone to the textbook annex and the textbooks are so expensive,” says UMass junior Andrew Furman.”So I’ll just go on Amazon and find a used one for 20 bucks, and it’s like ‘Oh, yes!'”
Amazon was chosen out of 6 companies that submitted proposals because of its low prices and customer service. Amazon also has university stores at Purdue University in Chicago and at University of California at Davis.