‘Don’t assume that you’ll find a better deal somewhere else’

Campus store encourages students to buy textbooks early

Janel Ewing said she almost missed her first test in her Literacy Methods class, because the textbook and access code she needed were out of stock at the USI Campus Store.

“I was actually able to sign up for a trial and then enter in the access code later,” the junior double major in elementary education and early childhood education said.

Ewing visited the campus store on the first Wednesday of classes last semester. She checked the shelves for the textbook, “Literacy for the 21st Century: A Balanced Approach” and asked a student worker for help when she couldn’t find it.

The student worker recommended Ewing check back the following week because the store would have more in stock by then.  

Ewing returned to the campus store the following Wednesday as suggested.

“I checked the shelf again and there still weren’t any,” she said. “So I asked somebody, and they told me I needed to fill out a blue sheet. They handed me one and said they couldn’t order me a textbook until I filled it out.”

Ewing said she was frustrated because she was given wrong information by a campus store student worker. She had an exam due that night and said she was lucky the free textbook trial allowed her to access the test.

She filled out the order form and received her textbook two or three days later. She said she was happy with how quickly her order arrived.

“Making sure that everyone knows how to order a textbook or having signs posted in the bookstore about who to see if you need to order one would be helpful,” Ewing said.

Nancy Schroder, campus store assistant manager, said she uses course enrollment numbers and sales history from the past three years when deciding how many textbooks to buy for each course each semester.

“It would be nice to say, ‘oh, there’s 70 students so I’m going to buy 70 books’ but that isn’t the reality of the market,” Schroder said.

Students have more options than ever to buy textbooks off campus thanks to online textbook ordering sites and eBooks. The campus store would end up with too many copies if they purchased based solely on course enrollment numbers, Schroeder said

Students have two options if their textbook is out of stock in the campus store: they can fill out an order form and receive the textbook in two to three days or they can rent the textbook as an eBook through the campus store.

Schroder said she encourages students to check the USI textbook ordering website before the semester starts and to buy early. Students can charge textbooks to their Bursar account starting Dec. 1, 2018 for the spring semester and Aug. 1, 2019 for the fall semester.

“At least check our website,” Schroder said. “Don’t assume that you’ll find a better deal somewhere else.”