The stereotype is everywhere: you can always find cheaper books than at your campus bookstore. Stores that have in-town competition especially know this one, as many brick-and-mortar college town competitors claim to out-buy and undersell the bookstore every term.
It’s a stereotype the Towson University Store is working to break with its new Textbook Price Matching Guarantee. Now if any student can find a better price from another vendor on a textbook offered in the store, Towson will refund the difference.
In its pilot semester, the program has already seen students take advantage of the offer.
“I have refunded a little bit of money so far, but the store can catch price differentials that we can look into,” Bookstore Director Stacy Elofir said. “And it gives students more proof of our attitude of doing everything we can do to be competitive.”
To get the price difference refunded, students fill out a Low Price Guarantee verification form and give staff three to five days to confirm the competing price. The competing price has to be offered for a book in the same condition with the same ISBN by a retail establishment in the United States, and be available for immediate shipment at the time of verification. Books that have received a Textbook Price Matching guarantee cannot be returned.
The guarantee offers peace of mind for its shoppers as much as it does the best rate possible. Stacy anecdotally mentioned shopping at big box stores in part because they offer a price-matching guarantee, even though she’s seldom actually taken advantage of it herself. It’s a sentiment she’s noticed among students who heard about the deal through social media and word-of-mouth promotion.
Plus, since the store offers the Price Match Guarantee for up to a week after students purchase the book, it’s also a helpful sales technique.
“My staff is able to talk it up, and it’s one of the selling points when they’re on the sales floor,” Stacy said. “That encourages students to purchase while they’re in here when they know they’ve got that backup. That definitely helps the store.”