Sell-back dates at bookstore and drop/add dates conflict, cause frustration

Conflicting deadlines with drop/add course dates and textbook return dates cause confusion and annoyance among students. Photo credit Alison Trautmann.

By Keaton Fedak

Staff Writer

Those who visited the bookstore this year on September 3 faced madness as students piled in to bring back any of their unneeded fall semester books by the return deadline. But, those students who dropped classes after that September 3 return date were not permitted to return their texts, even though the drop/add deadline for classes was not until September 7.
Students across campus were expressing their frustrations with these conflicting deadlines.

“I think that it’s unfair to us as students that we’re able to add and drop classes [until the 7th], but we’re unable to get our money back for the books we purchased [after the 3rd],” said sophomore Stephanie Heim.

Tessa Lavelle, sophomorebusiness major, concurred. “I don’t think it makes any sense actually,” she said. Some students said they felt that the bookstore was taking advantage of them by not allowing them to return books after a certain date even though the drop/add date of classes had not passed.

Erin Ostroski, bookstore manager, said that the book return date used to be prolonged until two years ago, when earlier return dates were put in place. In accordance with this new policy, students are given a shortened length of time to return books that they had purchased for the semester. Ostroski said that this change was necessary to prevent loss of profit.
“What happened was a lot of people were using the bookstore as a loaner institution. They would buy the book, order it on Amazon, or, wherever, and when their book came, they would bring [the other book] back,” said Ostroski.

Restocking fees also play a large part in profit loss. Ortoski said that the bookstore is only allowed to send back 25% of the order that she receives from the publishers. “Once I go over that, I end up paying a restocking fee anywhere from 3%-12% of the total cost. It runs into a lot of money,” Ostroski said. In order to be more accommodating to students, Ostroski said that the bookstore plans to acquire a new system that will allow book rentals and EBooks. Book rentals would allow students to pay a reduced fee to borrow a text for the semester and return it once the course has ended.
Ostroski also explained the EBooks as being similar to a SIM card. Students purchase the card, which holds a code that can be entered online to access books via a computer.

With these offerings, students will have more options available to them when purchasing course materials at the beginning of each semester. “The National Association of College Stores is trying to find other ways [to reduce costs of textbooks], because they have seen what we have seen in the trenches,” Ostroski said.

Ostroski said the bookstore is trying to be reasonable when it comes to a student’s finances. In October, the bookstore will allow students to return books from past semesters and other universities.
The student will receive the asking price from the company for the book. In addition, the sell back period for the fall semester is throughout finals week.

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