UWM Prepares to Downsize Its Bookstore by Eliminating Textbooks

Aug 14, 2015

Typical UWM students could their book bills drop from $800 to $320 per semester by using the new online service

As more students turn to online sources to purchase lower-cost books, UW-Milwaukee has established a five-year contract with eCampus.com. The new online book service is expected to save students 60% on the cost of their textbooks. The average student has paid $800 per semester.

The UWM Bookstore will stock some books for the 2015 fall semester, but then they will disappear from the shelves. Afterwards, students can buy their textbooks online from the university's new Virtual Bookstore. The brick-and-mortar shop will house kiosks and staff members to help students place orders and return books, and it will also sell spirit wear.

Student Thomas Kelly says the expense of textbooks until now, has made many students think twice and sometimes take a chance at going without required or recommended books for courses.

"Do I buy this text book that I’m going to use once or twice for a class or am I going to use it to pay bills so I can make sure that I have a roof over my head. Cause if you take four or five classes, times whatever a book is, that’s a lot of money,” Kelly says.

Kelly says plenty of savvy students have learned to look elsewhere, in recent years.

"Cost is certainly driving students away from the bookstore. I saw a thing on Amazon yesterday where you can get books for 90% off. It’s right on their homepage,” Kelly says.

So the UWM Student Association voted to end the sale of textbooks on shelves at the bookstore. It had been losing money too.