New campus bookstore struggling to satisfy community needs

New campus bookstore struggling to satisfy community needs

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By Alameina White, Transcript Reporter

The Ohio Wesleyan bookstore has faced a few challenges since becoming independently owned back in Sept. of 2017 but is working to improve things for next semester.

Earlier in the semester, instructors/professors started having issues with the bookstore not processing their orders and students weren’t able to get their books. This caused frustration as some instructors/professors had to delay their syllabuses.

According to Melanie Kalb, Director of Purchasing, when some instructors/professors had submitted their book adoptions (orders), the bookstore was still being sourced by Follett. Some professors/instructors had then submitted their adoptions to Follett causing some of them to be misplaced.

The transition to an independently owned bookstore hasn’t been smooth but Lisa Tackett, an employee of the bookstore, has been working hard to improve the process.

“We’re working to expand our supplier base, Lisa’s adding new suppliers and new wholesalers every day as we grow,” said Kalb.

Since becoming independently owned Tackett, who oversees the book adoptions, has set up accounts with numerous publishers from scratch.

“Some are quick, some are one phone call and you order at the same time and there are some that’ve taken four weeks just to set up an account to place an order,” said Tackett.

In the process of trying to find new publishers to source the books, Tackett has also had to work with international publishers that can take up to six months to process an order. Instructors/Professors had also adopted books that were out-of-print or print-on-demand. Orders for books that are print-on-demand can sometimes be held until a certain number of copies are requested and take anywhere from a month to six months, according to Tackett.

The process of submitting book adoptions was also new for professors.

“They normally turned them in to me in the past and now they go in and enter it themselves,” said Tackett.

Given the issues and changes at hand, the bookstore employees found different ways to get students their books.

“We’ve gone as far as to order books on Amazon and resell them in the bookstore,” said Tackett. “We want to make sure students can get the books they need.”

Tackett and Kalb encourage students to visit the bookstore’s website, https://owucampusstore.secureweblogin.com, where they can order their books from the bookstore or from six other vendors. This also allows students to compare the bookstore’s prices to those of other vendors.

“One of our main goals is textbook affordability and trying to get the best price for the students in comparison with all the other websites out there,” said Kalb.

Kalb believes that next semester will go a lot smoother and many of these issues will be worked out by then.

“That’s not going to happen next semester, we’ll have owned the bookstore for a longer period of time so those textbooks that may be older or print-on-demand can be available here for students,” said Kalb.

 

 

 

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