Bowdoin College switching to online textbooks

Chegg, the textbook and student services company that has long been a nuisance to physical campus bookstores, will this fall take over and run the textbook center at Bowdoin College.

Faced with the seemingly ever-rising prices students spend on textbooks, Bowdoin College is ditching the traditional way it’s been selling textbooks and will instead partner with an online company.

According to Bowdoin College spokesman Doug Cook, students will likely spend between $300 and $600 per semester on textbooks, depending on the courses they take.

Should a student spend an average of $450 per semester on textbooks, that translates to $3,600 over the course of four years, at two semesters per year.

According to a 2014 report, about half of Bowdoin’s students receive financial aid to offset the $60,000 annual cost of tuition.

The shift won’t come with significant savings for the college, said S. Catherine Longley, senior vice president for finance and administration, but students will save an average of 20 percent compared to what they now spend on textbooks.

The program will include new and used textbooks available with free, three-day shipping, as well as e-book access.

Cook said students would save about 20 percent off the cost of their textbooks by going through Chegg, as opposed to the on-campus store.

Students will be able to start purchasing their books about four weeks before classes begin, and throughout the semester.

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