Daily Campus Creates Multimedia Story to Compare Textbook Prices

College students know they will invest a hefty sum every semester to buy textbooks. A Daily Campus piece published Monday Feb. 4 compares prices of four retailers and cost of buying vs. renting.

The Daily Campus took a step forward into the world of online journalism yesterday with a story that was released solely on our website.


This piece is also an attempt at multimedia storytelling, as it is told primarily through a graphic. (It is a first for us as far as my Daily Campus memory spans.)


Our new online production intern, Kevin Scheller, who is also our photo editor, and I collaborated on the story “Cost of buying vs. renting textbooks,” which compares the two common ways students get books. It also compares the price of one textbook sold at the UConn Co-Op, our bookstore, and on other popular sites like Amazon.com and Half.com.


Many students will not be surprised that Scheller found renting Introductory Chemistry Essentials (4th Ed.), our sample textbook, is cheaper than buying it.


He also found that the Co-Op charges more than double Amazon.com for this text.


Of course, the price comparisons would be different for other textbooks.


Scheller pitched this story while he was in the midst of buying books for the new semester. We decided that a graphic depiction would be the best method to tell the story because these types of numbers and comparisons have a greater impact when seen visually.


Scheller also created a poll to accompany the piece. It asks readers "where do you get your textbooks from?" As of Tuesday at 4 p.m., 41 students have answered the poll. 46 percent of those students said they buy their books from Amazon.com.  


It is my goal to tell more stories through visuals this semester. Scheller’s main responsibility as the online production intern is to create pieces of online-only content every week. Previously, this only occurred when we had breaking news that we wanted to get out before print. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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