The Coop Textbooks Service

by Donagh Mahon

The Harvard Coop book shop has immediate access to all prospective and current Harvard students’ email addresses. This along with the proximity of the store to campus, the word “Harvard” in the store’s name and the references and direct links to the bookshop made by professors in classes here make the Coop seem like an “official” provider of books for Harvard classes. In reality, the books here are overpriced, both to buy and rent, and can be obtained better (cheaper) ways. However, students, especially new ones, often assume that the Coop is where they are supposed to buy their textbooks. This is a great example of Cialdini’s concept of “authority” at work influencing people’s buying decisions.

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