New textbook procedure aims to lower costs and lines

The textbook procedure for distribution was changed this year from a manual to an automated process, Michael Coston, director of the university bookstore, said.

The procedure changes included scanning textbooks instead of stamping them and students picking up rental textbooks and purchases at the same time, said Steve Jepson, assistant director of the university bookstore.

This change was made to help save money while also making the textbook process faster, Jepson said.

“This process is faster,” Jepson said. “It’s also much greener. We’re using a lot less paper, which is a huge cost saver.”

Another factor for the change was shoplifting, Jepson said.

Since the switch to the new procedure, sales have significantly increased, Jepson said.

Next year the bookstore will buy software that compares costs to online sellers to help create competitive costs for purchases, Jepson said.

Currently the book prices are mostly set by publishers, Jepson said.

The bookstore realized there were some faults in the new procedure with some students waiting for up to three hours, Book Rental Support Services Supervisor Pam Walker said.

Jepson said it was a staffing issue. 

 “What happened is that everyone showed up at once,” Jepson said. “Where we fell down was we didn’t have our staff adequately scheduled.”

The new procedure was decided by bookstore managers, Jepson said. The main goal was speedier lines and a smaller cost.

“We changed everything that we were doing,” Jepson said. “We had no track record to go on about what the demand was going to be.”

The bookstore hopes to be quicker next semester, Jepson said.

Jepson said he hopes students will continue to buy purchased books on campus since all the proceeds stay within the university.

Money spent at the book store goes to scholarships, departments and the Appalachian Summer Festival, Jepson said.

Sarah Callaham, a senior interior design and building design double major said her biggest complaint was the lack of option between used and new books.

“I don’t mind the new checkout system for rentals, Callaham said. “Just why can’t we get our own purchased books?”

The bookstore will also have a different return procedure this year, Jepson said.

For further opinions, check out The Appalachian’s Man on the Street

Story: CHELSEY FISHER, Senior News Reporter