Offering rental textbooks has been one of the best decisions for Ridgewater College Bookstore. Giving students more low-cost options encourages more student shoppers. Recently, we spoke with Judy Meyering, Bookstore Manager, Ridgewater College, about the store’s rental program and how it has helped the store evolve.
“It was great being able to meet my margins with book rental. Being able to offer rentals saved the bookstore by allowing us to offer low-cost rental books while meeting our margin. Several years ago, students were shopping online, digital started picking up and industry-wide sales had started declining. Rentals made a huge difference. Students see that low price on our website and decide to shop with us,” Meyering said. “In the last two years, we have had some decline in rental, but students seeing rental as an option still helps us tremendously. We see many repeat rental customers. We have also added some inclusive access options to continue to provide students with more cost-saving solutions.”
Managing the bookstore's course material rental program
As an MBS Store Technology Solutions partner, Ridgewater College Bookstore manages its rental program and quotes with the MBS system.
“With the MBS System, we can upload quotes from other wholesalers in addition to MBS. That functionality makes it easy to see the whole picture and offer low rental prices on more titles. At the end of term, we scan the books for return shipments which is fast and efficient,” Meyering said. “I can recalculate my shelf prices quickly by jumping into rentals and simply hitting recalculate rental shelf price. It has my preferences set in the system. It is quick and easy to do the batching to run the non-return rental billing from the point of sale and the website. The functionality offered with the system is a real time-saver.
“Being able to meet my margins with book rentals is terrific for both the students and the bookstore. MBS has better rental quote prices than all other wholesalers, hands down. In the past, I have always rented from MBS. I check the others, but MBS comes out on top. At the end of the semester, I run my rental list again and maybe make a little more money — which is great. There are wonderful benefits to partnering with MBS. I think we are at 18 years with MBS as our system provider,” Meyering said.
Accessible and accurate reporting
Another way the MBS system supports the store’s rental program is through easily accessible and accurate reporting.
“One of the great things about MBS is the good reporting — especially when it comes to rentals. There are many different reports within the rental tool that I run to verify my rentals. I also use Arc Report Builder. Creating reports is not in my wheelhouse, but I watched the webinar and created another report that I use for rentals. It is a terrific feature MBS has given us. It lets you determine exactly what information you want and that’s made things very efficient,” Meyering said. “I run rentals by term. It gives correct pricing. It has all the information that I need: what a student paid for their book, what my shelf price was, what the difference is — in case they try to return a damaged book. It’s a great tool!”