Textbook pickup goes smoothly despite severe weather

Around 5,000 students used the Early Bird pickup program.

Despite record snowfall the first few weeks of class, the spring semester has seen few problems regarding student textbook pickup.

Student Auxiliary Services spokeswoman Michelle Froese said the Early Bird pickup program went smoothly, with few delays in textbooks.

“We had over 95 percent pick-up rates,” Froese said. “We had four different check-out stations to pick up your books. So, even with the inclement weather, it went really, really well.”

An estimated 5,000 students used the Early Bird pickup this semester. Froese said this is typical for the spring semester, although it is 3,000 to 4,000 less than average fall semester numbers, a difference she attributes to the large number of freshmen who sign up for the program at Summer Welcome.

Froese said most publishers have very stringent return deadlines, anywhere from 30 to 90 days after the start of the semester. These strict deadlines are the reason the bookstore only gives students two weeks to return their purchases for a full refund. After that point, books must be shipped back.

“One of the things we like to avoid is overbuying, because it costs extra money to ship it back, and sometimes things are not even returnable to a publisher, particularly if it’s a bundle or there is an online access code,” Froese said.

For some classes, expected enrollment is ordered. In some classes, only 80 percent enrollment is purchased.

In one case, estimated enrollment was about 420 people, but the bookstore anticipated another section for the class opening. So, extra books were ordered and the store ended up selling 520 copies.

Froese said there could be a shortage of textbooks for a variety of reasons. If a class uses a custom-compiled book the publisher must specially produce, the bookstore may not get all the copies it needs.

Freshman Cody Heyveld experienced this situation when he arrived at the bookstore to discover his economics textbook was not in stock the first week of class.

Professor Marty Steffens, who teaches Heyveld’s class, said about 15 students in the class of 235 did not have a textbook the first week of class.

Bookstore employees could not provide Heyveld with an expected arrival time for additional copies.

Froese said it is difficult to predict when books will arrive because publishers often have warehouses all throughout the country. So, the bookstore might receive one shipment from one region and another from a different region.

To cope with this inestimable wait, Froese said the bookstore can try to get permission from the publisher to make photocopies available for students until the actual books arrive or post a few chapters onto Blackboard.

“We had a lot of panicked kids who had to borrow books or try to borrow books from friends,” Steffens said. “We had already had a couple quizzes and that’s what makes people very concerned.”

Steffens’ co-professor was unable to reach the bookstore concerning the problem, but students brought the problem to light and more copies were ordered.

“I found a PDF document of it online,” Heyveld said. “So, I’ve been using that.”

Heyveld said it was difficult to take online quizzes at first without having the textbook as a resource.

More copies of the book arrived Wednesday, a little more than a week after class had started. Steffens said the textbook might have been delayed because it is a custom-compiled book.

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