The Bookstore (Again)

When last I wrote about the Bookstore, I complained about some problems caused by their seeming lack of organization. As a result, coursepacks for one of my classes were misplaced. (They were found in a box outside the manager's door.) That was in February of 2012. How are things going now? I think this picture of an empty shelf where my PSYCO 282 textbook should be tells the story.

This term, I'm teaching three courses. In total, the required readings are: one textbook and three coursepacks. The Bookstore was short: one textbook and two coursepacks. Well, one out of four, hey? At least it's not zero, amirite?

I took this photo yesterday, in the third week of classes. Yesterday, when my PSYCO 282 class had their first assignment due. Empty shelf. At least there are now copies of the coursepack for my other two classes, but some students in one of my other classes did not have the readings last week, when there was a quiz based on the coursepack readings.

I know I'm certainly frustrated, and I'm sure my students aren't thrilled either.

When I order textbooks, there is a form that asks how many copies the Bookstore should stock. I leave that blank. I used to fill it out, until I realized I was wasting my time. It was taken as a suggestion. And, really, I don't know how many copies they should have. Some students don't buy the textbook. Some buy the ebook. Some buy the book used. If there's an oversupply, that costs money. I get all that. So it's up to the expertise of those in the Bookstore to do their calculations and make sure there are enough books. Let me just repeat the last bit for emphasis: make sure there are enough books.

After much complaining, here's the response I got today from the Bookstore:
"We take very seriously our role in serving the campus community, both students and faculty.  Never would we purposely do anything to interfere with your teaching schedule or your students ability to complete their scheduled assignments.  Unfortunately in this case we received a late request from the other section, and had to order more books in August to compensate for this.  In addition there was an enrolment spike so we had to re-order yet again.  For such circumstances we always request that the publisher rush the orders, and we pay for air shipping to cause the least amount of disruption.  For our latest order Nelson was not able to get the book as quickly as we would have liked and did not get them shipped out until last Friday.  We should see them in the next couple of days.

"I apologize for the frustration that this has caused you and your class and hope that our performance will have no such impact going forward."
So there's the explanation for what happened in my PSYCO 282 class. The textbook is in a new edition, so there are no used copies available. But what about my other classes? And the classes that my colleagues are teaching? I sent out an email request asking what problems others have encountered, and it looks like I'm definitely not alone.

In my post of February 2012, I was told:
"Under our new director, the Bookstore is working on several course material improvements including an enhanced web-based ordering service."
Did they "enhance" anything? Nope, not yet. Well, they did just put up a whizzy new website--with the message "Some areas of our new website are still under construction; our apologies for any inconvenience." Er, what? When do you put up a new (incomplete) website? During your busiest time of year? Have there been "improvements"? No--things are worse than ever. (The new website currently lacks any way for me to order textbooks. Apologies in advance what whatever happens to my textbooks next term.)

Have any horror stories about not being able to get textbooks or coursepacks from the Bookstore? Tell me your story below.

Why aren't you studying?


Anonymous said...

I always like your textbook posts, thanks for making this sort of information public.

Anastasia said...

If the bookstore is out of a coursepack the student can go to info desk and let them know which one they need. It will be reprinted for them and they can pick it up in 1-2 days.

The bookstore usually does one initial bulk order of coursepacks then just orders more as needed (when students ask for it).

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