The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

The Student Newspaper of Mississippi State University

The Reflector

Bulldog Bundle causes more woes than wins

Madelyn Sykes | The Reflector

Students were automatically enrolled in the textbook program with only one pickup point, the campus Barnes & Noble.

Thursday, I stood in line for an hour at Barnes & Noble, waiting to pick up my Bulldog Bundle selections. Upon reaching the counter, the clerk said my order was not ready yet; I had to wait until I received an email announcing its arrival. Disappointed and slightly sweaty due to the lackluster air conditioning in Barnes & Noble, I trudged down the escalator.

The next day, I still had not received another email about my textbooks. At this point, I was nervous because I had an assignment due Saturday night and needed my book.

What am I supposed to do now? 

Bulldog Bundle is Mississippi State University’s new book-buying option through Barnes & Noble. Instead of purchasing your textbooks in person or through a third party online, Bulldog Bundle offers direct pickup and delivery options for students’ coursework.

At first glance, Bulldog Bundle seems to be a convenient way to purchase your textbooks, as the university automatically enrolls you in the program. However, it is difficult to opt out of the system, and often, you are forced to purchase the package.

With Bulldog Bundle, your textbook fees are automatically added to your student AR account. According to an email sent to students from the Office of Public Affairs, Bulldog Bundle can save purchasers 35-50%. 

I decided to do the calculations myself and see if that statement added up.

The Bulldog Bundle book fee is $200. I had one textbook and a Cengage MindTap digital lesson book. My journalism ethics professor required I purchase “Media Ethics: Issues and Cases.” An e-book rental runs for $52.33 for 120 days on Vital Source. A physical copy, according to, is $79.39. I checked Campus Book Mart for a local source, but they do not sell the textbook. 

Next, according to Cengage’s website, my “Plazas” e-book with MindTap for Spanish 3 costs $124.99 for four months. Each semester’s Bulldog Bundle rentals are loaned for four months.

Together, the “Plazas” and “Media Ethics” e-books are $189.73 with tax. Thus, I could have saved $10.27 if I chose to rent my books myself, which I could have spent on lunch or gas. If I chose the “Plazas” e-book and the physical book for “Media Ethics,” the total would be $218.68. In that case, Bulldog Bundle saved me $18.68. I would have bought both e-books instead of the physical copy, but that is my preference.

One issue I consistently have had with Bulldog Bundle is the navigation on the Barnes & Noble Bulldog Bundle selection page. Multiple times over the summer, I attempted to opt out of my purchase. I wanted to buy my books like I always did: online and preferably with a coupon code. However, the website linked through the Barnes & Noble emails does not offer a clear “opt out” button. So, I scrolled to the bottom, not selecting anything, and hit “submit.” Then, the website told me I have invalid information. OK, what now?

Friday, I received an email from communication department head Terry Likes with a video explaining how to opt out of Bulldog Bundle. Accordingly, you can access Bulldog Bundle through the MSU Barnes & Noble website under the “course materials and textbooks” tab. I was accessing the program through the emails Barnes & Noble sent over the summer. The video showed the demonstrator selecting their department, term and course information, then clicking “retrieve materials.” A new page loads, and you can scroll down to find an “opt out” box with an arrow. I wish I had this video weeks ago because now it is too late. Someone else made this bed for me, and now I must lie in it.

Bulldog Bundle was an admirable attempt to alleviate textbook financial woes. However, as my crude data shows, it may not be the cheapest option. Automatically enrolling students in the program was a poor decision. The students should have the choice whether to enroll or opt out, instead of navigating pesky email links and getting tricked into buying Bulldog Bundle.

About the Contributor
Heather Harrison
Heather Harrison, Former Editor-in-Chief
Heather Harrison served as the Editor-in-Chief of The Reflector from 2022 to 2023. She also served as the News Editor from 2021 to 2022.
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Bulldog Bundle causes more woes than wins