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Editorial: One bookstore is not enough

Students+attempt+to+enter+the+Illini+Union+Bookstore+but+are+prevented+from+doing+so+due+to+full+capacity+on+Monday%2C+August+2.
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Editorial: One bookstore is not enough

Students attempt to enter the Illini Union Bookstore but are prevented from doing so due to full capacity on Monday, August 2.

Students attempt to enter the Illini Union Bookstore but are prevented from doing so due to full capacity on Monday, August 2.

Lily Katz

Students attempt to enter the Illini Union Bookstore but are prevented from doing so due to full capacity on Monday, August 2.

Lily Katz

Lily Katz

Students attempt to enter the Illini Union Bookstore but are prevented from doing so due to full capacity on Monday, August 2.

The T.I.S. bookstore stopped selling textbooks after the spring 2016 semester with little warning to students.

The sudden change led to the Illini Union Bookstore accomplishing something that Illinois football has dreamed of for years: creating a long line of students desperate to get inside.

But the rebranding of T.I.S. is a bigger problem for students than having to wait in line.

Now that the Illini Union Bookstore has a monopoly on campus textbook sales, there is little stopping the store from raising textbook prices even further through the proverbial roof.

During the 2015-2016 school year, college students attending public, four-year universities spent an average of $1,298 each on textbooks and supplies, according to the College Board.

Students would have to work more than 157 hours making minimum wage to meet the average price of books. It also means that students would have to spend almost four weeks of their summer vacation working full time just to pay for their required textbooks.

Not only does having just one bookstore monopolize prices, it also demands a significantly higher amount of time spent to buy books.

This week, students have waited in front of the Illini Union Bookstore on the sidewalk and even into the street because the bookstore was at fire code capacity.

To be fair, 5 to 7 percent of the profits from the Illini Union Bookstore support the Illini Union, which in turn supports activities and resources for students.

Not all students, however, take advantage of these resources, yet all must pay steep prices for materials.

Professors and instructors have always sent business to the Illini Union Bookstore. Most professors tell students to get their books there, and some professors make materials available only at the University’s bookstore.

The long lines prove that students need more than one place on campus to buy books. While there are many places online to purchase materials, few guarantee the immediacy and accuracy of a local bookstore’s shopping list.

We don’t blame T.I.S.’s owners for their decision.

We understand the challenges of maintaining a profit while battling rising rent costs.

Before you express frustration with T.I.S., take time to understand its side of the story.

They recognized that textbook sales were no longer profitable for them and made a business decision.To ensure that prices don’t continue to rise, the University needs multiple textbook providers on campus.

However, the sad truth is the current financial situation leaves both students and textbook providers with empty pockets.

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