Purdue-Amazon deal challenges local bookstores

WLFI File Photo
WLFI File Photo

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) – It’s a requirement for nearly all college courses, and Purdue University senior Julie Kitchel said it is an expense she can barely afford.

“There have been times when I didn’t have enough financial aid to cover the cost, so I’d have to borrow money from family,” said Kitchel.

Now a new agreement between Amazon and Purdue promises to decrease the cost of textbooks, but not everyone is happy with the partnership.

University Bookstore General Manager Tom Frey said the agreement will hurt business, and said the deal between Purdue and Amazon won’t save students as much as they think.

“They have to do what they have to do,” Frey said. “But I don’t think this massive savings is really going to be there.”

Frey said one of the biggest benefits of buying from the bookstore is having books the same day. Although students may save a few bucks by ordering online, they may not always get what they paid for.

“You may get the right product. You may not be getting the right product,” said Frey. “You may save, you may not save. That’s what you’re going to be exposed to.”

Purdue President Mitch Daniels said the agreement may create competition for local bookstores, but said the university is trying to do what’s best for students.

“It will be up to them,” said Daniels. “It depends on how they compete, but our job is to look out for our students, and their families and their budgets.”

Frey said the store has made changes over the years to lower their costs, but will continue to look for ways to keep students coming back.

“It’s obviously going to hurt, but it’s going to give us new challenges,” said Frey. “We will have to figure out how to go forward.”

Kitchel said she’s just looking for the best deal.

“I would be more inclined to support the local bookstore, if it were more competitive and more beneficial to my wallet,” said Kitchel.

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