When bookstore employees stare at the miniature mountains of rental returns piling up in their store room at the end of each term, it's often a daunting feeling.
The staff at Centralia College Bookstore in Centralia, Washington decided to have some fun with it instead. They used the hundreds of titles returned by students to promote a new product and increase student engagement during winter break through a guessing contest.
"We had rentals stacked everywhere, because we were right in the midst of buyback," said Textbook Buyer Krista Goff. "We looked in our back room and thought, 'we have a lot of books in here, I wonder how many?' From that point, we decided to do the contest."
Similar to the style of game where contestants are invited to guess how many jelly beans fill a clear jar, students were invited to guess the number of rental returns, based on a few photos hosted on the store's Facebook page. After a set duration, the student with the closest guess submitted through Facebook won a coloring book for adults and some pens, which Goff added was an opportunity to showcase some new inventory the store had gotten the month before.
Goff said that to further boost engagement, the store might give more time for students to submit answers to account for the break should they do a similar giveaway in the future. In addition to getting students talking on Facebook and showing off trendy new merchandise, she praised the contest for being an easy and fun way for staff to break up the rush routine.
"We thought the books were really cool, and the contest as a whole was fun to humor it up a little bit, when you're working with textbooks all day," she said.