Every semester, University of Idaho faculty and staff have to decide which textbooks will help their students be successful and the VandalStore staff is there to help, Bookstore Director John Bales said.
In an effort to streamline the process and bring value to students, Bales said the VandalStore is undergoing changes to encourage a timely flow of information.
Bales said there are three value-oriented textbook options for students — digital, used rental and purchased rental books — in no specific order. He said the No. 1 student choice is the used textbook, whether it’s rented or purchased.
Bales said the sooner VandalStore staff receives textbook information from instructors, the better.
“It’s all about product selection,” he said. “The faster we have information, the faster we can get out in front of other schools to provide our students with options they prefer.”
In a Feb. 12 UI Faculty Senate presentation, Bales used the example of a 100-student class and a textbook title with new and used availability — used retail price is $50, while new retail price is $100. If the VandalStore ordered 100 books six weeks prior to the start of classes, they would receive 60 used and 40 new and the average cost of a book would be $70. However, if the VandalStore ordered 100 books two weeks before classes, they would receive 20 used copies and 80 new, and the average cost of a book per student would be $90. If an order is put in later, the average cost of a textbook can be nearly 30 percent more per student.
Bales said one major change is the reorganization of operations at the VandalStore.
“In our educational resource, or book, department … we have people dedicated to being liaisons, meaning they will reach out to faculty and help them find solutions to their needs,” he said. “We’ve always had that outreach component, but now there is a specific goal in mind.”
The VandalStore will also continue to grow its rental program. Bales said students appreciate the option because it’s inexpensive up front and eliminates the risk of guessing the book’s buyback value.
Bales said he approached the Faculty Senate to start dialogue about improving the flow of information, and looked to them for guidance.
He also discussed the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, which Bales said outlines expectations and deadlines of when course textbook information needs to be delivered to students. Bales asked the Faculty Senate to include a section in its handbook stating the need for deadlines to be met in accordance with the HEOA, and to work with the provost’s office to annually communicate those deadlines.
One suggestion from the senate was to create an annual calendar outlining deadlines on textbook adoption, which Bales said is in the works.
Britt Kiser can be reached at email@example.com