This year, Rutgers Prep has instituted a new online book purchasing system called Classbooks.
The site allows students to purchase either online or hard copies of the required textbooks for each class. The prices vary from book to book, and depending on the course, the eBook and hard copy version can closer in price than one would think.
There were several cases in which students have been left without books at the start of classes, but teachers were told to be forgiving since this is RPS’s first year using the application.
Though eBooks typically took about a week to finish processing and downloading, most students say that they received their books relatively quickly. The online reviews of Classbook show an array of responses: some say that the service has been a great success, but others share that their books took weeks to ship, and certain books were out of stock.
Concerning their first time using Classbooks, a student says, “I had a good first experience with the Classbooks app while ordering textbooks. I was a bit skeptical, but after playing around on the website I was able to figure out the ordering process. I ordered three eBooks and one textbook from the site. I ordered the books the week before school. The shipping of my hard cover textbook was fast, and I got it within two days.”
Regarding their eBooks, the student said, “Even though I ordered two eBooks, one has still not completely downloaded. The eBook that I can access requires an internet connection for me to read it.”
An internet connection is necessary for many eBooks not purchased on Classbooks too, so this isn’t something exclusive to the website.
Thus far, the Classbooks system has been employed solely in the Upper School. Since all Upper Schoolers are required to use iPads, eBooks from Classbooks have been found to be more convenient.
However, many students still chose to avoid Classbooks by using other services like Amazon and eBay to order their books. These buyers said that they used other services because of high prices of both hardcover books and eBooks on Classbooks.
One student said, “It does not make sense that the eBooks are just as expensive as the textbooks. Either way, I have to pay two hundred dollars”‘.
It would be especially unfortunate if students paid the high Classbooks prices, but then would be faced with the problem of whether the book would even come or not.
Most students in the Upper school had positive experiences with the Classbooks app, but it is in question whether the system will continue being used in the Upper School.