With next month’s grand opening of a branch in Isla Vista, Beat The Bookstore will try to turn a new page in competitive used textbook prices.
Beat The Bookstore will open its doors March 13 at 900 Embarcadero del Mar – directly above Silvergreens. The bookstore chain currently has 15 other stores nationwide, located near colleges like Texas A&M, the University of Georgia and the University of Iowa.
Storeowner Badaoy Moudarous said the franchise both purchases and sells used textbooks at low prices year-round. Students receive store credit to Beat The Bookstore in exchange for textbooks. However, if students want to shop elsewhere, they must wait until the beginning of the next quarter to receive cash in exchange.
“The truth is, by getting credit, we don’t blow money from the banks and can sell books cheaper,” Moudarous said.
Moudarous said Beat The Bookstore’s prices are lower than both the UCen Bookstore and the Isla Vista Bookstore. The UCen and I.V. Bookstore must meet their sales quotas or raise their prices to make up the money they had budgeted for. Beat The Bookstore, however, has no quota and therefore can maintain better prices, he said.
Competing bookstores would normally sell a $100 used textbook for $75, while Beat The Bookstore would sell it for $70, he said.
The store only receives used textbooks from four wholesalers and students at its various locations, Moudarous said. When one school discontinues the use of a certain textbook, the selection is moved to another Beat The Bookstore location, where a university may still require it.
Moudarous said he believes the opening of his store will lower book prices throughout Isla Vista.
“My best assessment is that it will heat up competition for the UCen and I.V. Bookstore, and only the students will benefit,” Moudarous said.
In addition to fiscal savings, Moudarous said his business helps reduce deforestation by increasing the circulation of used textbooks rather than asking for book companies to print more. Students can also donate their books to charity, he said.
“If there’s nothing for your book, there will be a box that says ‘Books for Africa’ and students can donate their books,” Moudarous said. “We all have the ability to be social entrepreneurs, make money and still do good things.” I.V. Bookstore Manager Kevin Moraine said he is not worried about the competition.
“The store is the second oldest business in Isla Vista,” Moraine said of I.V. Bookstore. “It’s been around since 1965. The original owner established a good relationship with campus and that’s probably the hardest thing to establish.”
Moraine said his store stays in business by selling alternate items as well.
“We primarily sell books the first two weeks in the quarter,” Moraine said. “The clothing and supplies help out in the middle of the quarter.” A representative from UCen Bookstore was unavailable for comment.