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September 05, 2006 - Image 29

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The Michigan Daily, 2006-09-05

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New Student Edition 2006 - The Michigan Daily - 9C

More bang for your buck: The
best way to shop for school

By Gabe Nelson
Daily Staff Reporter
Remember that TV commer-
cial for Staples where a man
dances down an aisle buying
school supplies for his children,
while the Christmas song "It's
the Most Wonderful Time of
the Year" plays?
The commercial was right.
The first week of classes,
when many University students
buy their textbooks, coursepacks
and school supplies, is the most
wonderful time of the year.
Just ask any student who is
forced to wait two long hours
for a coursepack from Excel or
dropped a painful $100 on an
organic chemistry textbook.
But while some of the costs
cannot be avoided no mat-
ter how seasoned a shopper
you are, knowing your options
might help you cut costs with
many of the most expesnive
course ammenites.
If you buy your supplies
through the big stores on cam-
pus, you're bound to overpay.
Even so, it's tempting to shop at
these stores becauseithey carry
almost everything 'you need.
Don't worry about comparison
shopping on campus, unless
you're looking for a used book,
because these stores sell their
books for retail price:
Ulrich's (549 E. University Ave.)
Michigan Book and Supply
(317 S. State St.)
Michigan Union Bookstore
(in the basement of the Union,
530 S. State St.)
But some professors opt to
sell their books exclusively
through Shaman Drum (313 S.

State St.), an independent book-
store. If your professor says his
books are at Shaman Drum,
don't look for them at Ulrich's,
MB&S or MUB.
If you're taking huge intro
classes as many freshmen do,
you'll inevitably need to buy
some of the most expensive
textbooks, many of which cost
more than $100.
The big stores, particularly
Ulrich's, carry a limited supply
of used books that students sell
back to them at the end of the
semester. If you want to buy a
used book, be sure to go as soon
as you can. The used books, at
discount prices, sell quickly.
No one is making you shop
at the overpriced bookstores on
campus. If you'd like to save
money, buy your books online
or in used bookstores. Online
booksellers like Amazon.com
often offer textbooks at a lower
price than you'd get on campus,
and auction sites like eBay.com
and Half.com offer used and
new books at even lower pric-
es, often sold by other students
who no longer need them.
The University has its own
online auctionplace, market-
place.umich.edu, where you
can buy used books from other
students, generally at reason-
able prices.
Also check out local used
bookstores. These stores don't
specialize in textbooks, but
they might have what you need.
For courses in fields like great
books, English or political sci-
ence, you can often buy used
copies or bargain paperback
editions of the required books
for a fraction of the price. Try
these options if you want a
good deal:
Dawn Treader (514 E. Liberty St.)

David's Books (516-B E. Wil-
liam St.)
Anywhere you can buy used
books, you can usually sell
them at the end of the semes-
ter. Ulrich's buys used books,
although they pay very little
for them. If you're willing to
put forth the effort, sell your
books online or to other stu-
dents you know are taking the
same course.
Coursepacks are bundled col-
lections of readings or problem
sets required by many courses.
Since professors customize
them, you're not likely to find
them used. That means you'll
probably have to buy them new
on campus. Professors will
announce which stores carry
their coursepack. They're typi-
cally found at the following
Dollar Bill Copying (611
Church St.)
Excel Copying Services (1117
South University Ave.)
Accu-Copy (518 E. William St.)
Dollar Bill Copying, located
on Church Street, is quick and
convenient but unbelievably
expensive. You won't wait long
to buy a coursepack, even dur-
ing the beginning-of-semester
rush, but Dollar Bill's prices
will poke a hole in your pocket.
Some particularly large course-
packs will cost you upward of
$80, because Dollar Bill pays
royalties to authors and binds
its coursepacks nicely.
Excel Copying Services, on
South University Avenue, is the
opposite: cheap but painfully
slow and inconvenient. Since
you copy the pages yourself,
Excel doesn't have to pay roy-

alties. Most coursepacks there
will set you back $20 or less. But
Excel is incredibly busy during
peak hours. If you go during the
first week of school, prepare to
wait an hour for the privilege of
copying pages yourself.
Accu-Copy, on E. Liberty
Street, is quick, cheap and cop-
ies coursepacks for you. They
don't bind their pages, instead
giving you a plastic bag full of
paper. You get what you pay for,
and you're not paying much -
usually less than $20 or $30.
A few coursepacks are only
available at specific stores, like
the Michigan Union Bookstore,
but most will be sold at the
three copiers listed above.
Better yet, a few professors
put all their readings online,
leaving you with no obligation
to buy a coursepack.
Is your coursepack just too
expensive? Many professors
keep their coursepacks on
reserve at the library so you can
borrow and photocopy them.
Copiers like Dollar Bill and
Accu-Copy also offer photo-
copying at prices as low as four
cents per page, much cheaper
than buying a coursepack new
in most cases.
Here's the bottom line: If you
can, buy your supplies before
you come to the University.
Stores like Michigan Book and
Supply and Ulrich's charge
more than most office supply
stores elsewhere.
But if you need something
once you're here, don't hesitate to
go to one of these stores. Stores
like MB&S and Ulrich's sell
practically everything, including
office and school supplies, com-
puter accessories, University
apparel and food.

We could have listed all the concerts,
sports events, lectures, publications,
free trips to Israel, theater productions,
social justice projects, alternative spring
break trips to South America and
fun parties we have...
..but we only have one page.

Don't miss out

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