Before a student even sets foot on campus, the employees at the Missouri State University bookstore are already hard at work to get their attention. The main thing they are concerned about is their textbook reservation, which they encourage students to use in order to ensure they get the opportunity to save themselves both time and money.
"It all starts once the student registers for the semester," says Electronic Department Manager Ray Presnell. "Once they register we send them an email telling them to reserve their books. I can even tell if they haven't clicked on the links, and if they haven't then I can send them another reminder."
In addition to the promotional materials, the bookstore staff also tries to spread the word in person. "We spend quite a bit of time at our summer orientation trying to make sure that we're in front of them as much as we can," says Bookstore Director Sonda Reinartz.
Getting the message out there in a variety of ways has paid off. The textbook reservation service now has about 8000 users in the fall and 6500 in the spring, out of a total enrollment of 24000, and the bookstore has never seen a decrease in reservation enrollment since the founding of the program.
And why would it? In addition to having all of their course materials taken care of for them, students get a free tote bag when they come to get their reserved textbooks, and the entire service is free!
The bookstore has also improved things on the back end as well. They recently changed the format of the store, changing from books in alphabetical order by course to all being alphabetical by author. "It's been one of the best things we ever did," says Course Materials Manager Priscilla Skeeters. "It allows us to have all the books of one title in one place. It makes everything simplified."
The new system has allowed books to be pulled from the shelves at a significantly faster rate. When things were alphabetical by course, about 400 books were being pulled each day. Since the change was made, nearly 700 books come off the shelves each day.
The combination of the new shelving system and the continued success of the textbook reservation program has the Missouri State bookstore running as smoothly as ever, and both students and faculty are thrilled with the results. "The feedback has been phenomenal," says Skeeters.