Follett Bookstores help students minimize the economic & environmental impacts of buying textbooks

renting a textbook at the unt bookstoreFollett Higher Education Group, the business that brings you the University of North Texas campus bookstore, strives to minimize its impact on student’s pocketbooks and the environment, as well as provide programs to ensure students get the most from their textbooks.

For over a century, Follett has bought back and sold used textbooks to students - a highly beneficial practice for everyone involved. According to Haliegh Morgan, Public & Campus Relations Specialist for Follett Higher Education Group, “Many of the programs offered at the UNT Bookstore are focused on extending the lives of books beyond a single printing.”

One way they accomplish this goal is the Rent-A-Text program. Through this program, students can rent textbooks and save an average of up to 50 percent off the new textbook price without sacrificing their ability to highlight or take notes in their book. This program generally extends the life of a textbook by a few semesters and saves the student from buying a book that they may not want to keep once the class is over.

The Buyback program is another option for students who have purchased, but may not want to keep their textbook.  When the bookstore receives an order for a text, it will fill the order for that text by buying books from students, rather than placing an order with the publisher. This program is driven by demand, so students who want to make the most money from their books should sell them back as soon as the class is over. Until the bookstore’s order for a specific book is filled, they will pay 50 percent of its price to the student. After the order is filled they will continue to buy back the book and pay 30 percent of its price to the student. Follett’s wholesale division buys back and recycles over 11 million books annually, according to Ms. Morgan.

There is also an option for those tech savvy students who may want an electronic version of their textbooks for their gadgets.  CafeScribe is a program offered by Follett that enables students to purchase online access or a downloadable copy of their textbook, which can save them on average between 40 to 60 percent of the price of a new printed version of the textbook. As with the other program, CafeScribe also conserves the resources used to print a hard copy of the book.[SM1] 

 Digital versions of textbooks are compatible with tablets, personal computers, Macs, and smart phones so students’ backpacks will be lighter and their textbooks more portable. Some students may be weary of trying a digital version of a textbook due to lack of experience with digital texts. For those students, a majority of the titles available online also include a three-day trial of the textbook. This allows the students to decide if the digital version meets their studying needs. These initiatives are examples in which Follett is attempting to minimize its impact on students’ wallets and the environment. However, Follet’s environmental awareness is not solely limited to the purchase of books. 

One of the many additional ways Follett minimizes its impact on the environment is by using T5 fluorescent lighting in UNT’s bookstore. These lights are the newest technology in sustainable lighting, providing energy savings of up to 33 percent compared to traditional lighting methods.

As well, sustainably-minded students may not want to use plastic bags, which harm the environment, to carry their books out of the store. Follett bookstores provide two alternatives: the first is that students can purchase reusable bags in the store for $0.99. These bags can be used to tote books on campus and to abstain from using plastic bags at grocery stores or anywhere that provides plastic bags to carry purchases. The second option available for the sustainably-minded student is to “skip-the-sack” and to simply place the purchased books or school gear in their own backpack or bag.

The packing and shipping materials in Follett bookstores are also recycled and repurposed, and many of the new or newly renovated stores use natural, recycled, or low-impact building materials.

With over 900 Follett locations serving hundreds of thousands of students, faculty, and visitors to campuses across the country, every little initiative can amount to huge savings of money and natural resources for all involved in the buying and selling of school related products.

Share this story: