Despite some initial delays during the Fall 2017 semester, the bookstore is getting on track since changing ownership to Follett Corporation.
Doug Roberts, senior vice president of finance and administrative services, said, “There were some early issues with Follett not having sufficient staff to process/order some things on a timely basis, but they seem to have things working pretty well now.”
With large-scale and complex operation changeover at the bookstore, some difficulties were hard to avoid.
“My teacher for music 6.1 never had the order filled at the bookstore, so we had to buy our book on Amazon,” said SRJC music major Alden Muller.
Problems like these sent students scrambling to other resources besides the bookstore.
“I ordered the books in May through the bookstore and was surprised that they’re not available right now,” said Instructor for MUSC 6.1 Cynthia Weichel. “We usually order in the spring for the fall, and in the fall for the spring.”
In addition to hurdles like these, concerns over affordability still loom large for students.
“I don’t care to shop at the bookstore. The prices are outrageous, mainly for textbooks but for other supplies as well,” said SRJC art student Michelle Wolfe. “For the first couple of weeks of the semester, the wait is too long. I think they used to have a separate line for book returns. It would be nice if they had that at the beginning of this semester.”
Inter-Club Council Chairperson Joshua Graham-Pinaula said textbook pricing is not up to the bookstore. Prices are set by the publishing companies.
“Follett is a private outside entity. It will take them some time to learn how they can work with the public,” Pinaula said.
With a crush of students visiting the bookstore at once, the customer experience is inevitably compromised. Still, other changes at the bookstore have been for the better.
“It’s a lot more organized than it was before. I like that you don’t have to take your backpack off anymore just to buy a scantron or something,” said SRJC student Casey Wellington.
Follett Corporation is aware of student concerns and has a number of methods in place to meet price concerns.
“The bookstore offers a robust selection of digital and rental books that help offset the costs of new textbooks based on the trends for Fall 2017,” said Will Crawford, campus store manager. “Our goal is to provide course materials of every type that help address the issues of access, affordability and student success.”
Follett offers several helpful features and services for affordability:
Rental books: These average 55 percent off on new book prices and up to 80 percent off some books.
Used books: Better value than new books, plus students can sell them back at the end of the term.
Digital: 50 to 60 percent less than new books, on average.
For faculty: Follett has a partnership with Lumen Learning for open educational resources courseware that dramatically reduces costs compared to typically priced publisher courseware.
Price Match: This popular program ensures students get materials at the lowest cost possible by price matching against eligible competitors. The difference in price is provided on a store gift card that can then be used toward other course material or supply purchases.