Bookstore Manager Dispelling Price-match Confusion

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Brooklyn Smout is an employee at Snow College ’ s bookstore. As part of her job, she helps students find the correct supplies and books students need for their classes. Photo by A lyssa Brunson.

Brooklyn Smout is an employee at Snow College’s bookstore. As part of her job, she helps students find
the correct supplies and books students need for their classes. Photo by Alyssa Brunson.

The Snow College Bookstore is the place on campus to find everything needed for classes and required swag. Bookstore manager, Jeana Cheney, wants to make sure students know how to get the best savings.

Owned by Follett Corporation, the bookstore carries textbooks, general reading books, spirit gear, gift-cards, snacks, school supplies, art supplies, and much more. Working directly with professors at Snow, the bookstore provides the specific textbook needed for every class at Snow during any given semester. They also offer cash for books sold back during the end of the semester period.

Possibly the hottest news about the bookstore came at the beginning of 2016 when the bookstore began to match the textbook prices of online competitors. However, the overexcitement and hype initially created by the new policy spread more rapidly than could be controlled. Now much of the policy is now misunderstood by the average student. Cheney, going on her third year as the bookstore manager, is working hard to correct the confusion

“Price matching is a great option,” Cheney says. “We are able to price match with Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Chegg.” Among other stipulations, the bookstore is unable to match the price of a third-party dealer (referred to as a marketplace partner) or a price offered with a membership. The book must be in like condition, meaning new-for-new, used-for-used, buy-for-buy, and rent-for-rent. Once conditions are met, price matches can be done in-store or online.

Another often misinterpreted part of the process, students still pay the original price of their textbook in full. The difference between the regular price and the advertised price is credited to the student on a Follett Co. gift card, good for anything in the Snow bookstore except other gift cards.

The policy quickly began to beg the question of students: How does price matching actually save me any money then? Cheney has the answer. “To cite a common occurrence, my husband had a textbook that could not be price-matched,” Cheney says. “He price-matched a theatre textbook and was able to get a considerable amount back on a gift card. He then used that gift card to help pay for his other item.”

This is a well-utilized loophole among the students who take the time to understand how to use the price-match policy to their advantage.

Despite the rising popularity of online textbook sites such as Amazon, the bookstore remains the only outlet by which Snow College students are able to get their books and materials over the counter. The bookstore can also guarantee the right item being purchased, whereas Cheney has come across numerous examples of students who have received a book from a website in the wrong edition and sometimes in the wrong language.

Cheney is committed to putting Snow students first, and continues to do what she can to educate customers on how the Snow College Bookstore can provide for their needs.

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