Since last October, University Book Store at University of Wisconsin – Madison has been under renovation. The 20,000 square foot remodel focused on adding space to their selling area and creating a more retail-centric atmosphere. The results, according to director Kevin Phelps, are phenomenal.
“We’ve seen a steady increase in clothing and gift sales over the years, so we went where the dollars are,” he explained. “For that reason, a big part of the expansion was increasing our main sales floor. We tripled the area devoted to apparel and merchandise.”
The renovations resolved issues that had impeded traffic in the past, improving the overall experience for customers. For instance, shopping during busy events like game days was previously difficult because the floor was so packed with merchandise. Racks held two or three items, further reducing product visibility. So, when their location expanded, that was one of the first items Phelps and his staff addressed.
“We went section by section through the sales floor and adjusted each area to maximize its effectiveness. Now, there’s ample room to browse and everything has its own place; the transformation is truly amazing,” he emphasized.
The updates also presented the perfect opportunity to restructure the store’s layout.
“Our cash wrap area has been in the same place since 1972, and it was time for a change,” he described. “During the renovation, we reassessed everything and basically started over. We moved our entrance to face one of the busiest pedestrian corners on campus and situated our POS systems and checkout lanes accordingly.”
With an enhanced floor plan, the store has also been able to increase their offerings.
“Greek items, collegiate gifts, clothing; you name it, we have it!” Phelps added.
They’ve also added concept shops from big brands like Adidas, Jansport and Champion, giving the store a more retail-oriented experience. Despite the new focus, Phelps wanted to ensure that the look and feel of the store still reflected the campus atmosphere.
“We wanted students to know that they were coming into the official bookstore, so there are large lifestyle pictures hung throughout the store” he said. “The overall look is really neat; it’s bright, clean and definitely gives you the feeling that you’re in a fan shop.”
At their Grand Re-Opening event, held in early May, the store debuted the changes to their most important critics: their customers. And, the response they received was overwhelming. With thousands of students, faculty, staff and community members in attendance, they initiated their new location with a bang!
“’Wow’ was the first thing out of most people’s mouths as they entered,” Phelps described. “It’s such a drastic change and a completely new experience. The feedback has been amazing.”
Customers’ enthusiasm for the updated location was reflected in sales, as well. The store experienced sales that day that rivaled a big home football game.
“We were thrilled to receive such a positive reaction from the public,” Phelps said. “I think that the renovations will have a lasting impact on both sales and traffic. People are excited to come by and see us and that’s always a good thing!”
The following excerpt, from the article Reverse’ showroomers browse online retailers to support local businesses, was written by Monica Guzman and published in The Seattle Times. After writing a recent column about the prevalence of showooming in today’s world of retail, Guzman received several replies from readers who actually do the opposite! They browse online for things they like then go to local stores to pick up the items.
Many of these reverse showroomers feel passionately about the trend, especially when it comes to books. Their testaments are proof that brick and mortar bookstores aren’t going anywhere. Read a few of the responses she received below then view the full article for more inspiring testimonials:
I actually do the opposite. I find a book I want to read online then call a few local independent bookstores (yeah, call on the phone!) to see if they have it.
What I do makes no financial sense, but I love the relationship I have with bookstores in Brooklyn [David, a former Seattleite, recently moved to New York]. I don’t mind paying extra to support them.
To me, the bookstore is sacred space I go to and I having trusting relationships with the people who work there to introduce me to great books. I almost see the higher price as a consultation fee that I’m willing to pay.
I don’t have a smartphone, so I actually do the opposite of showrooming. I check Amazon.com to look for publication dates of new books by my favorite authors. I then visit local independent bookstores and buy the books. I only ordered books from Amazon once. I was not happy about the way they were shipped or delivered. … I’ll pay the real price for my books, AND keep bricks and mortar retailers alive, any day.
Graduation at Roosevelt University is getting a new look thanks to Roosevelt University Registrar Sheila Coffin and her graduation team. The recycled caps and gowns are made from plastic bottles and they will be worn for the first time ever by more than 750 undergraduates and graduate students during the Spring Commencement at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University.
It is one small part of the University’s mission to conserve resources and promote sustainability.
“It’s something that we wanted to do and that we knew we should be doing,” said the University’s associate registrar Laurel Tryforos of the new “green” gowns that are made from recycled water bottles.
Manufactured by Oak Hall Cap and Gown Service, each recycled gown is made from 21 water bottles that are ground into a powdery substance that is made into a thread that is woven into fabric, which is then dyed black.
“There is a lot of energy involved in the cap-and-gown business,” said Cary Campbell, regional manager for Balfour, which is the manufacturer’s representative.
When universities rent graduation gowns, transportation, cleaning and storage costs typically are a part of the cost. However, in this case existing waste is being conserved and reused in a responsible way.
“There are graduations twice a year at Roosevelt. The registrar’s office made the decision to do its part by helping the environment each time we have these ceremonies,” said Sara Willis, who is Roosevelt’s graduation coordinator.
Graduates have the option of turning their recycled caps and gowns back to the University for further recycling and resale.
The following excerpt is from the article article Online-Only Text Sales Requires Careful Prep, written by Cindy Ruckman, Director of Publications for the National Association of College Stores, and published in Campus Marketplace. Ruckman offers great detail on the process stores should take when considering an online-only textbook operation, based on MBS regional manager, Kathy Cameron’s, expertise.
In her CAMEX 2013 Flash Session entitled What Happens When the Textbook Department Goes Virtual?, Cameron explained several areas stores should consider when looking for a third-party program to support their online textbook sales. Take a look at her advice below and view the full article for further information.
Cameron said campus stores can start the search for an online textbook partner by asking prospects about their virtual bookstore practices from the student perspective. Find out how the online interface will be branded and whether it can be customized to suit your school’s needs. Can the provider furnish all the textbook formats and options your store requires—new and used print, rentals, digital? Is inventory availability shown in real time? How easily can students place their orders and can they pay with financial aid?
Stores should take a close look at providers’ order fulfillment, including how they make procurement decisions, the degree of automation in the fulfillment process, and from which locations the orders will ship. Cameron recommended asking for the back-order rate and order accuracy rate as well.
The availability of used textbooks is another important criterion. “How extensive is their used-book inventory?” Cameron asked. “What are their sources for used books?” Stores should inquire about whether buyback programs are part of the package and what type, including whether they offer guaranteed buyback.
Even if e-textbooks and other digital materials aren’t big sellers on your campus right now, you should still evaluate the capabilities of vendors to supply these formats. Cameron suggested asking which platforms and devices (including mobile) are supported, how many e-book titles are available, and whether digital content is integrated with the school’s learning management system. How do students access e-books—online or as a download—and what are their key functional features?
Customer service is another area stores should explore before signing with a provider. “What support staff is provided to manage the online store and the relationship with the school?” she asked. Providers should be able to describe their policies and practices, including how students can contact them about problems.
“Can a student at one o’clock in the morning have a live chat with somebody, because you’re not there?” Cameron said. “When you’re looking at a virtual bookstore environment, it has to be reflective of your store.”
The switch from physical textbook department to online-only may be wrenching for some store personnel, especially if the move was mandated by the administration. As a former store manager for 15 years, Cameron said she understands their anxiety.
“The first question I hear is, ‘If they take the books out, what happens to my job?’ Nothing,” said Cameron, explaining that the store still needs textbook staff to work with faculty and process adoptions.
In most cases, after textbook sales go online, the college store still remains in business, taking advantage of the extra space to expand into more general merchandise, technology, and service categories.
“The virtual bookstore only takes books out of the bookstore,” Cameron said. “That still leaves all the things that make you money. The high-margin stuff, that stays in the bookstore.”
If your store is considering an online-only textbook option, talk with your MBS Representative for more detail on how we can help.
Typically, when one thinks of change, big, significant differences come to mind. But, sometimes, small steps can be just as effective. That was certainly the case at Washington and Lee’s University Store, during the winter buyback.
The store, which has always held buyback in the same location, spontaneously decided it was time for a change just an hour or two before the event was set to begin. Rather than setup at their typical indoor location, they improvised and moved it outdoors.
“It was absolutely beautiful outside, so we started talking about how nice it would be to let students enjoy the weather while selling their books,” explained Kati Grow, book manager. “It may not seem very exciting to some schools, but we’ve always, always, always done buyback inside, so it was a big deal for us.”
Ready to take advantage of the nice weather, the store approached their MBS buyers with the proposition of moving, and they were already on the same page, wondering if the store would go for it.
“Lisa, our MBS Representative, and Bob, an MBS hired buyer, were both very flexible and got on board with the idea right away,” Grow described. “Not all buyers would be willing to do something so last minute; they were great!”
The impromptu location wasn’t far from where students typically sell books; in fact it was no more than 6 feet away. But, it made all the difference in the atmosphere.
“We literally moved our setup just outside the windows where we usually host buyback, so there was no need to advertise the change,” she said. “But the sunshine and fresh air created a much more positive experience – no one minded waiting in line, and we noticed far less complaining.”
According to Grow, the location was absolutely perfect. Being outdoors meant the store was able to capture much more foot traffic.
“It made us visibly accessible to students walking by; we were literally in their way, so they took notice of us and many stopped to sell their books,” she added.
The fact that the store played music for the first time ever only further lightened the mood. With the help of their MBS buyers, they used a Bluetooth speaker to blast the tunes.
“Students had a general happy-go-lucky spring attitude,” she emphasized. “We received much more positive comments about buyback than we have in the past – and it didn’t cost us a thing!”
The move paid off in revenue, too. Once the store accounts for the impact of their expanded rental program this semester, Grow believes their buyback will be up in both dollars and in units. Although she does attribute some of that success to the move outdoors, she also believes their Buyback Voucher Program had a significant impact.
For the second year, they’ve offered students the opportunity to claim a limited number of vouchers that allow them receive the highest buyback price available for their specific books.
As we all know, the first students to sell their books will earn the highest buyback price, as they receive the retail value. When the store began advertising this logic to students, campus faculty members raised concern that this prompted students to sell their books too early. As a solution, the store implemented the voucher program.
“We needed to devise a new system that would be supported by our professors, profitable for our students, manageable for our store staff, and seamless with the buyback wholesalers’ software and buyback methods,” Grow said. “The approach we settled upon was a voucher system. This, we hoped, would allow the store to offer students a premium price for the same number of books without putting them under any sort of constraint regarding the timing of the physical buyback transaction.”
Through their voucher program, the store allows the first 20 students to claim a voucher that locks in the premium (retail) price. Once the voucher is claimed, the student can then choose to sell his or her book on the first day of buyback, the last day, or any time in between.
“It takes the time pressure off for students, and satisfies our faculty members’ requests, so it’s a win-win,” Grow said.
This semester, they took that effort a step further by taking the time to manually look up all of their titles on Amazon to see how their prices compared.
“It was a lot of work, but it gave us the opportunity to tell students ‘We’re paying $75 and Amazon will only give you $62;’ it proved that we really are competitive,” she said.
The word spread quickly and Grow believes that the effort brought positive PR to the store. In fact, many students stopped by saying that their friends told them the store was paying more than Amazon.
“We calculated that on 77 percent of our titles, our buyback price matched or beat Amazon’s price,” she emphasized. “That’s something we were able to tout with students, and it made it well worth the effort.”
Overall, the changes University Store made paid off with a more positive atmosphere, enhanced transparency and even increased revenue. Through their initiatives, they’ve realized that change is good, and something they’ll be implementing more often. And that’s a sentiment they hope to see spread throughout the industry.
“Don’t be afraid to make changes; even if they’re small, they can have a big impact! You just have to be flexible,” Grow said. “Take it from us; moving six feet into the sunshine can make all the difference!”
Zombies, vampires and wizards – oh my! With an array of popular television shows, movies and even video games all featuring superhuman casts, sci-fi has quickly become the latest craze among college students.
What once was a genre just for the eccentric has now become mainstream, and it’s chic to be a geek! So, our latest Marketing Plan honors all things supernatural with a variety of activities you can host in your store and through your social media pages.
Whether your students are hardcore Trekkies or Harry Potter fans, we have something for everyone! Choose from activities such as a Geek Week Trivia Contest, complete with over 50 questions and answers, a Zombie Walk, a social debate and more! And, as always, all of our materials are free for any college store to use and customize.
This month’s plan is packed with fun ways to connect with your students and, regardless of which you choose, it’s guaranteed to leave an impression that’s out of this world!
Check out all of the exciting offerings here!
We all know that college students love their social media, and Pinterest, the fastest growing social network in history, is quickly becoming their most-visited platform. One of the most commonly pinned items among the demographic is craft projects, and many students spend countless hours filling their boards with creative ideas.
Recognizing this trend, the staff at Iowa State University Book Store devised a way to bring the fun of Pinterest into their store.
“Pinterest Parties are huge right now, so we thought, why not turn that concept into something we could host in the store?” explained Amy DeLashmutt, Marketing & Customer Service Manager. “We were already looking for ways to add value to our current programs and this fit perfectly with our Art Club.”
Primarily a discount based program, the Art Club builds loyalty with customers through savings, but the store’s end goal was to develop loyalty through behavior as well. By offering more hands-on craft projects, their hope was to ultimately increase the value of membership.
“We want to give people an outlet to create the projects that they may have pinned on Pinterest, but have not had the time or the know-how to actually complete,” DeLashmutt said.
Their first Pinterest Project has direct tie in to the store. Attendees had the opportunity to design a T-shirt scarf, based on five unique styles demonstrated by Iowa State University Bookstore Event Coordinator, Laura Shelton.
“It was a really cool way to give new purpose to a T-shirt,” she added. “It’s ideal for those times when you find a design you like on clearance, but they only have a 2X available and you wear a Medium. Or, when you have an old shirt you love that doesn’t fit well anymore. It’s very versatile!”
With a workshop area set up in a prominent area of the store, attendees had plenty of space to complete their creation. Best of all, the location drew attention from other shoppers who were browsing the store.
“We had a lot of people stop and ask what we were doing; I think that interest will only help expand our future Pinterest Projects,” she said.
There was no time limit to the project, so participants could create as many scarves as they liked and work at their own pace. Best of all, the materials required were all provided by the store – free of charge!
“We’re planning to host a different Pinterest Project each month, and the cost will vary depending on the materials used,” she explained. “Not all of them will be free, but because we could supply the materials needed for this project relatively easily, there was no fee involved.”
To keep the cost at a minimum, the store capped the event at 15 attendees and encouraged potential participants to sign up in advance.
“We had nine people attend our first event and we were really happy with that,” she described. “There was a very healthy balance between students, community members and even children, which is what we wanted.”
In fact, DeLashmutt herself was in attendance with her daughter!
“It was a really fun to be the customer and view the event from that perspective,” she said. “It was a great mommy-daughter date; she had a blast!”
Because of its success, the store plans to offer a new Pinterest Project in May. Just in time for Mother’s Day, this project will be geared toward jewelry with attendees learning how to make unique earring displays seen on the site. From there, they plan to use their staff’s unique talents to guide their choice of project each month.
“Through this event, we’ve realized we have a wealth of information available through our staff members,” DeLashmutt described. “We’d like to rotate which employee leads the Pinterest Project every so often so that everyone has a chance to share their skills and teach something that they’re passionate about.”
With endless possibilities for Pinterest Projects, both DeLashmutt and her staff are eager to see how it evolves.
“It’s such a fun way to help our customers express themselves creatively and the fact that they can walk away with a handmade project at the end of the day is great,” she said. “I’m so excited for future events and to see how this develops over time; I think it will be very successful!”
Last year, Earth Day was observed by more than 1 billion people in 192 countries. This worldwide event, celebrated today, inspires people to come together in an effort to reduce environmental destruction, and provide for an Earth that future generations can enjoy.
But, for many, sustainability is something to be celebrated throughout the year. Hope-Geneva Bookstore at Hope College is one such store, who believes they should initiate eco-friendly solutions as often as possible.
So, for the past three years, they’ve offered students the option to recycle their textbooks through OnePlanet Books. Bonnie Washburn, MBS Representative, clued the store into the offering and they were eager to implement it.
“The best part about the program is that it’s easy,” explained Mary Deenik, textbook manager. “We explored other options, but so much of the money was lost in administrative costs. This program allows us to gain the most revenue, so we can have the most significant impact on the causes that we support. Plus, we’ve worked with MBS for years and it’s a company we trust, so can say without a doubt where the money comes from and where it goes.”
For the first couple terms, the store reinvested the funds earned through OnePlanet Books into the store. But, when a student approached them with the idea of donating to Rwanda, an area of the world that is desperately in need of support, the store’s staff was eager to help in any way they could.
In 1994, Rwanda was the site of genocide. Tragically, approximately one million individuals were killed in a little over three months. This terrifying event decimated the country’s economic base, impoverishing the population. As a result, many children were left without families to raise them.
Daniel Owens, senior at Hope College, is an active member of the Be Hope project, an on-campus organization that has worked in conjunction with the Nibakure Children’s Village (NCV), a nonprofit dedicated to providing resources to the orphaned children of Rwanda, since 2008 to build and support an orphanage.
In 2011, Owens joined the cause as an intern and began searching for new ways to generate resources for the orphanage.
“I got to thinking, our school always has book buyback, but sometimes, the books can’t be bought back and students are upset that they have nowhere to take their book,” he explained. “What if we gave students the opportunity to do something positive with it?”
From there, Owens approached Deenik and pitched his idea. OnePlanet Books immediately came to mind and a partnership was quickly formed.
“Daniel and other members of the organization setup the table near our buyback, and staffed the whole thing,” Deenik said. “They were very proactive about it; for instance, they contacted different professors on campus, and many showed up with boxes full of books! It’s amazing what they’re able to collect, while still juggling finals during the same week.”
According to Deenik, the whole campus came together to show their support for the cause.
“The cooperation we’ve received is amazing,” she described. “Our deans, faculty, staff and students have really stepped up and gotten involved. For example, one of our custodians finds unclaimed books, which she collects and brings to the store throughout the year. The way everyone unites is truly wonderful.”
The Book Drive has raised well over $1000 to contribute to the cause during the bi-annual events hosted during buyback. A large part of that success is due to the fact that the store has offered to match any funds that Owens and the Be Hope project raise, dollar for dollar.
“Mary has been generous and supportive throughout the process; we’re very grateful,” Owens emphasized. “The Book Drive is a mutually beneficial experience because it fills a need at the bookstore and for our organization. It’s a great way for us to spread awareness to students about the work that we’re doing and the store is able to offer a positive alternative to throwing away textbooks. It helps the store, it helps the students and, most importantly, it helps Rwanda.”
“We feel good about it! It gives me peace of mind knowing that I am disposing of no value books in a responsible manner and helping a great cause at the same time,” Deenik added. “The best part is that the orphanage receives every penny that is raised. I hope the Book Drive only continues to grow from here.”
For Owens, the funds raised during the drive have special meaning. He spent four weeks at the orphanage in Rwanda as a part of the Mellon Scholars Program, allowing him to see firsthand the true impact each dollar has for the children who call it home.
“Our mission isn’t to save an orphanage, it’s to empower the children there with opportunities,” he explained. “We allocate the money we raise to suit their specific needs. For instance, the money from this year’s Book Drive went to support Internet access.”
Unsurprisingly, Owens says the experience of living alongside the 17 children who reside in the orphanage was a life-changing one.
“It was a truly fascinating experience,” he said. “I learned far more by going there than I could ever give back; it was amazing.”
And, it all started with a book.
Imagine what your store could turn no value books into; contact your MBS Representative to learn how OnePlanet Books can earn your store revenue that can be reinvested into your campus or a cause of your choosing. Happy Earth Day!
The ninth-seeded Shockers kept the country on the edge of their seats this season as they advanced to the Final Four with four wins, one over top-seeded Gonzaga and one over second-seeded Ohio State. And in their first Final Four since 1965, they had the Cardinals fighting hard for a win.
Although their unbelievable run unfortunately came to an end before the championship, the team remains victorious in the eyes of their fans – several of whom have been cheering them on from the Wichita State University Bookstore.
“It has been a tremendous experience for all of us as a staff, and we couldn’t be more proud of the team,” explained Andrea Stipp, assistant director. “We were busier than we’ve ever been, and a week later, I think we’re all still recovering.”
To keep fans supplied with merchandise for each stage of the tournament, the store has been working around the clock for weeks. And, their customers have certainly taken notice. Sales have spiked both online and in-store with orders for merchandise still pouring in, despite the fact that the team is no longer competing.
The initiative kicked into high gear when the Shockers reached the Sweet Sixteen, according to Stipp.
“We utilized local vendors for the majority of our t-shirts so we could take advantage of a quick turnaround time,” she said. “Many early mornings were spent making the three hour drive to Kansas City or Lawrence to pick up t-shirt orders. It worked out great though because we could have our merchandise available in-store within two hours of opening on the day after a win.”
Social media played an essential role in promoting each new t-shirt design as the team advanced through the tournament. By updating the estimated time of arrival for new merchandise on the bookstore Facebook and Twitter accounts, they created hype and had a line of fans waiting to make a purchase each time the new shirts arrived.
“We also teamed up with the Rhatigan Student Center Marketing Department who helped us cross-promote our new products and generate a buzz,” she added.
Their real secret weapon, however, was the ability to sell merchandise online. With the help of MBS Systems inSite, their web store was easily updated and able to handle a large amount of traffic.
“A lot of the sports memorabilia stores in Wichita don’t have an online presence, so it really gave us an advantage,” Stipp explained. “We saw a 1000% increase in online orders compared to our average monthly web sales and we’re still receiving quite a bit, even now.”
inSite’s easy management allowed the store to add merchandise to their website ahead of time and simply ‘unhide’ it once their team had progressed through another round. In fact, during the Final Four, there was a point in time when shirts were selling out just as fast as the merchandise was revealed.
“We shipped packages to Asia, the Middle East, South Africa; literally all over the world. It was phenomenal,” she described. “inSite was critical in helping us gain sales. If we didn’t have an online presence, we really would have been behind the eight ball.”
Beyond sales, the store was also able to extend superior customer service to their students throughout the process, establishing loyalty that will last long after the tournament. For instance, several fans who had headed down to Atlanta for the Final Four game called the store with last minute requests for flags that had been forgotten at home or sweatshirts that they just had to have.
“inSite was instrumental in allowing us to fulfill last minute orders to our fans who were across the country,” she said. “We were able to overnight merchandise to them in time for the game and they were just ecstatic.”
Online orders also cut down on in-store traffic, offering an improved shopping experience.
“No one likes waiting in a line, so we utilized inSite to offer store pickup to our students,” she explained. “They simply ordered and paid for their merchandise online and picked it up in store. Everyone enjoyed the convenience and the fact that they avoided the hassle of dealing with a crowd.”
The store also delivered shirts to their satellite campus locations, to ensure all students had a chance to show their Shocker pride.
“We know the majority of those students are working adults, and that they may not have time to drive to our store for an order, so we wanted to make sure they didn’t miss out,” Stipp added. “We saw a huge increase in sales at these locations and they were very appreciative.”
In fact, the store even welcomed their rivals with open arms through a t-shirt trade in promotion. Because many Wichita residents sport Kansas University and Kansas State University apparel on a daily basis, the campus’ Student Center partnered with the store to increase Shocker pride on campus. So, anyone who brought in KU or K-State apparel was offered $3 off their WSU Final Four shirt.
“It became a one of a kind experience for many,” Stipp said. “We had several students tell us how excited they were to shop for their first ever Shocker shirt; it was great!”
Throughout the tournament, the store spread the word about their in-store offerings and their website to thousands and thousands of people. Although the excitement brought with it long hours and extra labor, Wichita State University Bookstore thrived under pressure and scored big points with fans from around the world.
“I think it will impact our business for a long time to come,” Stipp said. “It’s sad to see it come to an end, but it was an incredible ride!”
And there’s always next season…
The following excerpt is from the article State representative introduces bill terminating textbook sales tax, written by Sydney Cohen, Aggie News Writer, for The California Aggie. To learn more about the proposed bill and what other professors had to say about it, view the full article.
On Feb. 19, State Rep. Tim Donnelly (R-Twin Peaks) proposed the Textbook Relief Act, which would exempt textbooks from sales tax in California. Donnelly said the initiative is an investment in California’s future.
According to Donnelly, California has a surplus of money that simply needs to be redistributed so that money isn’t wasted. Donnelly said that the sales tax exemption on textbooks wouldn’t be detrimental to the state’s budget.
“There’s money all over the place that we’re wasting on things. To me, this would be a sound investment because it essentially says we’re serious about producing an educated workforce — we’re willing to invest in students that show promise,” Donnelly said. “I want to make this the most prosperous and freest state in the Union so [that] everybody wants to come here.”
Donnelly estimates the tax exemption would put approximately $100 back in the pocket of the average California student.
“Our unit sales have increased based on our rental program,” Meley said.
Meley said she believes that although a tax break provides relief, the bookstore has been providing relief through the rental program.
As the assistant director of course materials, Meley seeks out as many variations of the course material as possible to ensure students are confident in their purchases.
“Quite a few instructors say, ‘I want this version because it costs less,’” Meley said.
According to Jason Lorgan, stores director at UC Davis, the rental program lowers the cost of textbooks by 70 percent and is utilized by 15,000 UC Davis students.
“Our goal is for as many students to have course material as possible, and at the lowest price,” Lorgan said.
Lorgan said that he believes instructors’ first priority is content, but that they are still concerned with price.
“We often hear from publishers that the conversations they used to have with faculty used to just be about content, and now it’s about content and price,” he said.
UC Davis political science professor Ethan Scheiner forgoes using a textbook for a low-cost course pack for his Political Science 2: Introduction to Comparative Politics class.
Scheiner said that if he found a textbook of equal or only slightly better content-value to his customized course pack, he would choose a course pack to save students money.
“If I wanted to, I could just grab [a textbook] and teach to the textbook, but the other part is to save students money,” Scheiner said. “I wouldn’t say the main driving force [to choosing a course pack] is to save students money, but it’s certainly a big part of my thinking.”
Scheiner said when it comes to students who study the social sciences and humanities, the Textbook Relief Act would have a lower impact because of the lesser use of textbooks in their courses. In contrast, he said the bill could save students in the natural sciences and related majors a much more significant amount of money simply because of the use of textbooks in their courses.
Donnelly said that supporters of the Textbook Relief Act should write emails proclaiming their support and deliver them through the Textbook Relief Act website. The website also provides a link to sign a petition to aid the bill in getting passed.